What if our Job as a Principal is the Interruptions?

Written by Laura MacDonald, Director of Professional Learning, NCEA, [email protected]

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

-Psalm 118:24

Instead of checking items off my to-do list, I found my checklist was becoming longer as the school day went on. There were so many “interruptions”; I wondered how I would get anything done!

While commiserating with a fellow administrator, we stumbled upon a novel inquiry (well new to us). What if our job as a principal IS the interruptions?

This question was critical in shifting from a negative to a positive mindset! Those interruptions were not interruptions at all; they were opportunities!

Opportunities to foster quality relationships and mutual trust with students. Opportunities to closely cooperate with teachers on timely items. Opportunities to dialogue with families who seek guidance in their roles as primary educators. To strengthen a faith community…to build up a learning community… and to engage in the social setting of the school. A principal’s role is to prioritize, promote and protect. A principal’s role is to be present and we thrive when the school community succeeds!

In other contexts, people have described interruptions as “God’s time” or “invitations from God.” Isn’t this applicable to school leadership?

Sure, we can’t always have an open-door policy and sometimes we must step away to take care of matters, but completing self-appointed tasks can not be a success metric.

I learned new ways to organize, strategies to prioritize, how to toggle between problems and how to protect time to manage multiple ongoing projects as an administrator. Like many, I still appreciate deleting completed entries from my list, but at the end of the day, listening and responding to those “interruptions” defines a servant leader!