A breakdown of my day:
1st hour: LINK
This is a great class in which students are peer mentors to elementary or middle school students. My replacement didn't trust me with her second grader as she's worked hard to build trust and academic success and she didn't think I could slide in smoothly for her for the day. Probably a fair assessment, thus, both of us went and helped out for 45 minutes. I was amazed at the level of maturity and understanding as well as differentiated instruction she gave her student and was grateful we have this program in our district. Also grateful I survived first hour unscathed.
2nd hour: Geometry
Went from smooth to scary quick. My student bid me adieu in the hallway (noted it's not that hard to get from one end of the building to the other in our small school...I'll start being meaner about tardies....) I entered more worried about my math skills than I exited class. We were moving triangles and enlarging them around a coordinate plane. I took notes but the assignment was a review one. While I didn't have the vocabulary or the exact way of doing the problems down pat I got by with a little help from my 'peers' surrounding me. Skipping the option to go up to the board to present my answers which was too frightening, I quickly got down to homework and got about a third of it completed. Some students around me wasted the 'work' time citing dozens of reasons why they'd just do it at home. My helper to the right said they never turn in the homework. Why waste the 15 minutes? Puzzling?!?
3rd hour: American History
My wheelhouse as a former history and social studies teacher. We had an online test. Gunna rock this! My replacement reported to class to quickly take it as she didn't trust my ability. No respect I tell ya! Being that it was online we got instant feedback and did well, so again, great call by her! I began on the vocabulary/preview of the next chapter after she left to do some dress-code duty. It was mostly rote memorization stuff, just looking for the bold words in the book so I swung back and forth between checking my phone for any messages and scanning the textbook for WWI vocabulary. I had 15 minutes to spare so I went on Facebook. Need to keep this in mind when I chat with technology policy violators in the future.
I was always good at this in High School. How hard could it be?
It took me forever to get a microwave to heat my food. Then it seemed like all the seats were taken (especially for an old-man new-kid like me). Small talk about classes was a frowned upon topic. Then I was done eating my lunch with like 14 minutes left of lunch and didn't bring anything with me to do besides my phone. Back to Facebook/Twitter it was.
4th hour: Desktop Publishing
I pride myself on being a bit of a tech junkie so I thought this would be a piece of cake. I started by helping my role swapped buddy edit her current project using the rubric provided. It had simple directions on how to layer and merge two pictures in Adobe Photoshop. I read the directions, gave some grammar and flow tips and thought I was done. This part was easy. Then the difficult part began. I tried to actually execute the task. I got stuck multiple times not being able to use the layering tool correctly (sometimes not even being able to find it) and then I quickly went to my ever present helper, Youtube, and realized I was blocked because I was using a student account. Then the whole lab seemed to slow down processor wise, and I got off task UGHHHH!!! Needless to say, I had homework in this class when I couldn't figure out how to execute the simple lesson.
5th hour: America Literature
We had a paper to get proofed and ready for a final draft. It was over Romanticism vs Realism. I Googled and got this chart on the way to class to help me as I had not the faintest recollection of what Romanticism was. Was of minimal help. I remember liking Edgar Allen Poe's stuff who was on this chart but basically because his writing was a bit weird and I remembered he must be a kook because he married his first cousin. Pretty sure this wasn't going to help me on the assignment. I ended up proofing 3 or 4 other students pieces using the class rubric. While I didn't understand what each box meant of the rubric I think I gave some quality feedback. I mostly got grunts of thanks. No one wanted to proof my piece until I told them it wasn't mine but a peer's. Guess bashing the principal's work wasn't enticing enough. Surprisingly (or maybe not), the students with no writing completed wanted to debate the principals of Romanticism vs Realism the most with me. This was after I figured out I was a realist and the majority of those with not writing completed were romanticists.
6th hour: Sign Language
This is an online class and again my fearless doppelganger did not trust me in executing this niche course. She attended the lab where the course was held, knocked out some work for a bit, and returned to my job. I sat and conversed with the teacher in charge of the lab and observed how he monitored the group both face-to-face and through the online portal. While online learning will probably never be my thing personally I could see some great work being done around me and through the teacher's view. Most kids were listening to their own tunes while working and it didn't seem to distract them. Could have been more creation, and less regurgitation in these online courses but I do see their value in helping many students explore their interests and/or regain credit through a different means.
7th hour: Chemistry
Second most scary subject going into the day but by 7th hour coloring would've been tough. I was EXHAUSTED! How do students keep switching classes so often and keep their energy up? I know the answer, not all do. It all started off with a "Q of D" or question of the day. This was a smartphone friendly environment so I Googled it and felt confident sharing my take on ionic vs. covalent bonds. My table leader liked my answer and shared it. I was feeling pretty good. Luckily that was the end of content I was expected to know as the rest of the hour was mostly guided notes reviewing what most of us bombed on the last test. Retest coming up so I took furious notes and really tried the examples. Luckily my table mates helped and were confident in their skills. No homework was a bonus!
I hurried back to my office to my office to regain control. Being a high school student is hard without a doubt. While I felt like my day passed quickly, that also was tough. Whirlwind doesn't even quite sum it up. Sorta like 7+ separate tornadoes during which I struggled to glue all the different pieces together. I checked my pedometer on my smartphone and I took only 3800 steps all day. That was about 1/3 of what I typically do as an assistant principal each day. My awesome replacement did great by all accounts of my principal (who she shadowed) and left me a note which made the day all worth it:
Being the principal for the day for Mr. McCullough was a very interesting thing. I have learned a bunch of things from [the principal] when we talked. I would have never expected that I would have learned as much as I did. For example, I have learned how much effort goes into being an administrator, and I have learned about what the schedule is for [the principals]. He told me that he usually has sixty hours of work per week. It was a really amazing experience and I am so happy that's got the chance to do be the principal of the day. I never knew how many things that principals do for us at our school. But they do so much that the students don't even notice. The staff and the principals try and take care of families in need. They also make sure that the students are okay and takes care of them personally, emotionally and academically. The principals really seem to be the heart of the school.