Thursday, January 7, 2016

Preparing for the Principalship

I haven't discussed it much here, but I am a candidate for a principal's certificate. In fact, I almost have that certificate in my hot, little, hand.

That's pretty crazy.

I am almost finished with classes. I've taken and passed the PRAXIS exam. My projects are completed, and all but one is written up and submitted. I must complete my technology work, but there's a plan in place to make that happen around my full time job, parenting, part time job, finishing classes, etc etc etc. I have to complete some self reflections, write the paper, complete my work on tech, pay for the certificate, and finish classes.


The past 12 months went SO FAST.

So, what have I learned?

Well, let's start with the facetious, I suppose.

I am a really good test taker. I took the PRAXIS exam quickly, leading to 3 weeks of nerves over not having done well as a result. Many of my peers mentioned that they were in the middle of writing when time ended, but I had plenty of time for each section remaining as well as for the test as a whole. Nonetheless, I not only passed, but scored much higher than the passing score.

Great teaching goes beyond the classroom. A few years ago, my husband and I began discussing our frustration with attending innovative conferences. Our needs there appeared to have been met and we were no longer growing. It's one of the reasons I took this path, but the conversation led us to conclude that we need to begin presenting rather than simply attending. As a result, I joined him and our friend Kate Baker in creating presentations for Flipcon 2016.

Some of the requirements we were required to complete for NJExcel included a series of pre/post assessments. In my pre-assessment, I admitted on several occasions that "I do this, but not outside my classroom." I've now taken steps to do those things outside my classroom too. As a result...
This references my performance on each of the six ISLLC standards.

I felt compelled when presenting this last night to add a


In addition to the presentations mentioned before, I've presented at a statewide conference (EdcampNJ), at several district professional development sessions, and at a faculty meeting. This brings me to my next point....

Ya gotta take risks.
My teaching is all about getting students to take risks. My classroom is about taking risks, because most of the time, I don't know if something will be successful or not. But really, how often do I take risks in my profession?

As a result of NJExcel, I did some internship work in an elementary school. When the idea was proposed to me (Hey, come work in an elementary school on the K-2 math curriculum), I wasn't 100% on board... or 20%, if I'm being honest... but I wanted to challenge myself, to grow, and to maybe work in an elementary school one day (I've always been enchanted by the stories of high school teachers who end up as elementary school principals... deep down, I hope that's one day me!), so I jumped on the opportunity. I LOVED spending time in that elementary school. As a result, I plan to seek positions that are for K-8, or K-12, rather than high school specific, though I'm not really interested in closing off any doors just yet.....!

Taking a leap into administration will not always be comfortable. Presenting to adults, working on a math curriculum, and building a master schedule wasn't so comfortable either. But I came out of it, survived it, learned a lot from it, and will do better next time... hopefully with fewer jitters and no shaky hands!

And, since I'm listening to a fantastic and inspirational book on creativity (Big Magic by Liz Gilbert; definitely listen to the author read this on audiobook--I just want to go up to her and give her a big hug because she's awesome), done is better than perfect, so I'm ending it here... despite all the loose ends and more points I need to make!

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Thanks for learning along with me!