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A week in the life of a Principal: Tuesday


OK, so it was raining this morning and I didn’t get up for a run. See the flow-on effect of that later this evening…

7.30am: Arrived & caught with with Pastoral Wellbeing Leader.  Main issues today around some kids whose behaviour had been less than stellar yesterday.  Decided on appropriate action, mostly centred around empowering and supporting teachers to manage the situation, rather than stepping in and ‘solving’ the matter for them.

Tuesday mornings are great for me. We don’t have a full staff briefing (teachers are meeting in the Year-Level Groups), so I’m free to settle in, put my head down and get some desk-work done.  Did I mention I have a stand-up desk?  Usually I can make it through until lunchtime without needing to adjust it to sitting height (although sometimes, if I’m wearing my high, high heels, it happens a little earlier!)  Today I spent time reading a document about the sexual abuse crisis and the Victorian Catholic Church. With the Church being implicated in so many terrible situations of abuse, Principals in Catholic Schools receive frequent PD about professional standards, as well as being kept informed about how protocols within the Parishes, Dioceses and other Church agencies are developing.

I also responded to some emails from overnight (requests for PD, a suggestion about fundraising for the Philippines, question about propagating some saplings from one of our historic trees, School Captains about function later in the day, negotiating best time to announce new House Leader positions, question from a new Principal that I’m helping to mentor,  followed through with a consultant regarding PD for the Principals in our region in 2014 , and got my head around the new structures for registering early career teachers through the online Victorian Institute of Teaching website.

10.10am: Walked calmly to front reception to report in as a ‘warden’ for our Emergency Drill.  Today we simulated an area of the school flooding (we’re situated smack bang between two rivers, each about 150m from our front and back fences) and there have a been a few close calls in recent years. So happy to be able to take a back seat and watch our staff swing into action and deal with the ’emergency’. I was completely superfluous. Fantastic!

10.25: Headed to morning tea and sat with one of our staff who had a rough day yesterday.  She was in good spirits, and just needed to discuss where things are now at.  Due to the Emergency drill, I had missed an appointment with one of our teachers, who caught me at the end of morning tea (by the fridge) to let me know she’s pregnant.  Happy dance!  Brain quickly turns to how we’re going to cover that in 2014!

10.50: Spent some time annoying our Business Manager about our new arrangements for the sale of the school uniform (we’ve moved the Uniform Shop off-site), met with our Catholic Identity Leader about staffing for an upcoming Youth Festival and how things were going in preparation for next week’s Graduation Mass, emailed a prospective parent about enrolments for 2014 (they’re late with their application), had a phone conversation with a colleague Principal about the agenda for an upcoming meeting, and the couple of items I need to prepare for discussion/presentation. Played ‘phone-tag’ with another Principal about a Referee request.  If you added up how much time Principals spend at this time of year (employment time) playing phone-tag with each other…

11.40: Met four Year 11 students in Reception to walk down to a local venue for lunch with local employers and the other local schools.  Our Local Learning Employment Network (LLEN) run a terrific program called ‘School Friendly Businesses’.  This luncheon, hosted by SFB was about Gap Year Students.  The Principal from the local Secondary College and myself spoke about the benefits of a Gap Year, and then some local employers and some local young adults who had taken Gap Years spoke of their experiences. Great event. Slick organisation and great opportunity to network with local businesses.

2pm: Had an meeting with one of our First-Year teachers to go through her application for Full Registration as a teacher (all new teachers are ‘provisionally registered’ until they have been through this process).  She put together an awesome Weebly to demonstrate her learnings and achievements this year. The new process for Registration involves the graduate teacher undertaking some action research around an Inquiry Question.  This teacher had focussed on differentiation and catering for individual needs…really inspirational work!

2.30pm: Signed a stack of letters going out to parents/guardians about upcoming excursions (tweaked the phrasing of some).  Worked with one of my Leadership Team on getting the teaching advertisement ready for this Saturday’s Age. Made some quick changes to our website to reflect this (more coming in the next day or so!). Had chat with our brilliant staff in Reception and brainstormed about the new school water-bottles (in House Colours!); spoke with my PA about preparations for tomorrow’s meetings.

3.30pm Briefly stopped in a Staff PD session on ‘Koori Cultural Education’. Great roll-up for this voluntary session and I was sorry not to be able to stay – they had some cool new Board Games that looked like they were going to be a great resource for both staff and students.

3.45pm: Ran into a parent whilst trying to leave the College.  Quick chat about her daughter’s traineeship and whether we can help her finish Year 10 whilst she does Trade School and her work placement.  Pretty sure we can, it will just require someone to oversee the work she needs to complete. Mum seemed happy with that outcome.

4pm: Attended a VCAA session on  ‘Interpreting Your NAPLAN Data’ at one of our local Clubs (very strange to walk through a pokie area on your way to a meeting about assessment), that included an overview of the new features available to us to assist with analysing data. Productive session & great to be at this with staff from other local schools – we don’t get to share a lot of PD, and it’s good to be reminded that we’re all working for and with the same families!

6pm: Squeezed in that 30 minute run I should have done this morning.  Is anyone else using the ‘Zombies, Run’ App – it’s FUN! (And I should own up at this point that I have a perfectly good treadmill in a very dry room in my house, so that excuse earlier about not running in the rain this morning was really pretty pathetic!)

7.30pm: Catholic School Principal = ex-officio member of the local Parish Pastoral Council. Meeting this evening discussed upcoming AGM, preparations for Advent and an event we’re holding in a few weeks.

Tomorrow is a big day of meetings & I’ll probably be talking scribble by the end of it, so stay tuned for the next exciting adventure…

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