“A King or Queen should never rule from their throne. That’s how they lose their head. Instead, get off the throne and walk among the people. You find out what’s going on and it’s the best way to lead.”
A month into the preschool year and I’ve rarely left the office. I hear noises from the wall behind me. It’s the children and teachers. I hear laughing. I hear crying. I’m not quite sure who is doing which, but I turn back to my computer. “Normal,” I tell myself.
Managing a center is a lot of work, but I still hold on to my teacher identity. I’ve said to others that I feel like a teacher that is sitting in the center manager’s chair. That’s a good thing. There can be disconnect between leadership and staff members if the leader doesn’t know or understand what their employees are going through.
Been in the classroom. Done that.
But I rarely visited the classroom this past month. When I did visit, I was telling teachers about administration stuff, paperwork, and blah, blah, blah. Visits to the classroom needed to be a priority.
October’s Goal: Visit the classroom more often
Objective 1.1 Figure out who’s laughing
Objective 1.2 Figure out who’s crying
I went into the classroom yesterday. The class was sitting for circle time. I sat behind one of the children. The teachers stopped their lesson – a book reading – and both looked at me. I gave a look with my eyes “continue”. “Oh” was their reaction, and the book reading continued. At my old school, my visits were routine. I needed to set a new routine here.
The classroom had a mixed bunch of behaviors. I saw children sitting quietly. I saw others trying to touch the book as the story was being read. Some children could take turns. Some could not. Some just got up and left circle time altogether.
I spent 10 minutes in the classroom. Children walked up to me. “What are you doing here,” they asked. Other’s wanted me to play. And, throughout my time in the classroom, I think the teachers were waiting for me to mention a deadline or paperwork to turn in. That didn’t happen.
I left the room and went to my desk. I felt better after visiting the classroom. I had tapped the pulse of my center.
Moral of the Story: Be among the little people.
The pulse and reality of the center doesn’t come from behind the center manager’s desk. The true identity of a center are the day to day interactions between staff and parents, as well as the instruction in the classroom. Don’t lead your center from the manager’s chair. Lead through the little people.