One of the best parts of my job is hiring new staff members. I know how much work it is to pull together all the required materials in the application process. I know how nerve wracking it can be to ask people to write letters of rec. I know how much anxiety can occur when sitting across the table from an interview team. Every word that is shared is critiqued and rated. Body language is overanalyzed. Reference checks sniff out reputations and weaknesses. But all of this is worth it when you land the job that you really want.
I love making the phone call to say, “We had a lot of great candidates. All the interviews went well. It was a very hard decision. We feel you are the best of the best. Come join us.”
Ugh…May. Yes the weather is nice and summer vacation plans are soon to become a reality, but it’s crazy time for educators, especially school administrators. While we are working hard to support our staff (who are also working extremely hard) to make sure the year finishes strong, we are also deep into planning next school year. There are budgets to create and present, class lists to make, and positions to fill. Most of the evenings this past week have found me reading teacher applications, scoring teacher applications, and then doing screening interviews with candidates over the phone. Last week I got home before 9 p.m. once during the week. Maybe this is how accountants and tax preparers feel in the months and weeks leading up to April 15.
This isn’t a complaint. I work in great school district with dedicated passionate co-workers and supportive parents. The work we do is incredibly important, so I better be working hard to meet the necessary expectations.
My keys to surviving and thriving during this part of the school year:
Rely on my system of organization. I’m a Getting Things Done disciple and it’s helping me keep my head clear during this busiest time of the year.
Get out of the office. I do have a lot of office work right now with encroaching deadlines, but maintaining a meaningful presence in classrooms, the playground, in the cafeteria, etc. is what I need to do to remind me of what is important.
Recess duty. The weather is nice and the kids love it (me too) when I am the all-time pitcher and referee during kickball on the playground. Sunshine and physical movement are good for lessening stress.
Family time. Smooches from Dear Wife and hearing “I love you Daddy” from my short people is so important.
Nature time. Dear Wife kicked me out of the house last night with my fly rod and waders to go stalk some trout. Just what I needed.
Sleep. I’m not getting enough, but I know it’s important.
Reflection. Doing that right now as I type this post. Take note of all that you need to do, and take stock of all that is going well. Meaningful hard work leads to a sense of meaningful accomplishment.
While I don’t think that online education can completely replace the human factor frequently needed to engage students in their education (especially for elementary age students), this David Brooks piece is a must read when thinking about what is coming for online education and how it will effect education in general.
My guess is it will be easier to be a terrible university on the wide-open Web, but it will also be possible for the most committed schools and students to be better than ever.