Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Patrolling Our Beat

Last week, my grandfather in-law passed away. This week, I had plenty of time to reflect upon various topics during his visitation and funeral. He was a retired Davenport police officer. It 

A while back I was listening to a podcast. I forget who the host(s) were and what the episode was titled, but I remember the topic. The podcast talked about how as a result of events that have transpired throughout our country, post-Ferguson, there was a need for police work to be altered. It was time for the pendulum to swing back to the idea of beat cops.

As a school principal, I've listened to students compare me to a cop.

I'm okay with that, IF they are thinking of me as a beat cop.

According to urbandictionary.com, the definition of a beat cop is:
A beat cop is a police officer who walks, rides, cycles, or drives in a specific neighborhood, known as a "beat." Because the officer routinely patrols in the same area, he or she becomes well-known in the community, creating a positive relationship between law enforcement and the community.
I am not okay with that, IF they are thinking of me as a cop that catches bad guys. Unfortunately, this is sometimes people's perception of us as principals. You see, at our back-to-school night, I was introduced to a kindergarten student by his mom as the principal. I was the one who the "bad kids"  had to go see.
I quickly tried to explain to the incoming kindergartner and his mom that I didn't see "bad kids," but instead I saw kids that made bad choices.

This is an image that we, as principals, need to change.

As principals, we need to be instructional leaders. We need to be in classrooms. We need to be talking with teachers about what they are teaching, and with students about what they are learning. And then we need to celebrate all of the great things that are being accomplished in our schools that we see when we are patrolling our schools (our beat), thus creating positive relationships among our school community.

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