I’ve Been Rock Climbing

It’s been a while since my last post and a lot has occurred. I’ve been doing a lot of rock climbing.

The end of the school year has thrust upon me graduation preparation, numerous evening honor ceremonies, completing end-of-year reports, finalizing student scheduling, and planning for the September opening. Only this coming September, I will be the Principal and the demands will be greater as well as the stakes higher.
Being appointed to the office of Principal has forced me to do some real reflecting.
I think back to my first year as a Language Arts teacher in Paterson, NJ. I was naive, brash, and needed a reality check. I got one. My first students racked me over the coals, stripped me of my pride and confidence, and sent me to the brink. I thank them for that – really. They forced me to really think about what teaching is and what education is all about. They taught me more about teaching than any class I have ever been enrolled in – ever.
I think back to my first Principal (Sr. Gloria – who now runs Eva’s Village). She contemplated firing me after that first tempestuous year, but told me she saw a teacher in me and allowed me to return to her building. It is because of her that I am now a Principal; her belief in me cultivated a belief in myself. She was a no-nonsense nun who truly believed that “God doesn’t make junk”, thus all children are deserving of dignity and an education. A powerful woman indeed. I thanked her recently by promising to invite her to my prospective 2009 graduation from Seton Hall University’s Executive Ed.D program.
I think back to the great teachers I have worked with at Jefferson and Manchester. Their spirit and encouragement remains with me. They believed in my gonzo thoughts and ideas about what a school could and might be.
I think back and hear the words of wisdom from two great Principals (Hank and Jim). They have guided me through some difficult times and will remain as mentors for me as I face the future in the office of the Principal. I still love Hank’s quips of common sense:
It’s my sandbox, play nice in it or go the hell home.
Oh well, one less Christmas card to write. (a common phrase he uses when someone is pissed at a decision he’s made)
Most importantly, I think about my wonderful, loving, and dear wife, and my three beautiful sons. I want to make them proud and show my sons what an awesome responsibility education is and what a respectful and honorable the office of the Principalship is. I figure that if I keep my sons and my responsibility to them in mind, my actions, reactions, and work with other people’s children will be kept in check.
I once stated that I remind myself of Sisyphus. It’s never been truer than it is now. The rock is heavy and the hill is high. Only now the rock is moving in the right direction.

image credit: “El Mito de Sisyphus – The Myth of Sisyphus

Author: Michael Parent, Ed.D

Father, husband, school administrator in NJ. "Education cures poverty".

2 thoughts on “I’ve Been Rock Climbing”

  1. I've been wondering whether or not you landed that principal gig. Congrats on the new position I think you'll do great. And I'll be taking you up on that offer to have one of your econ classes partner with one of mine to help with the commodity trading class. Have a a great and busy summer!

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