I’ve been to the DARK SIDE…and then came back to tell the tale.
In education, many people refer to making the jump from teacher to administrator as “going to the DARK SIDE.” I suppose it stems from Star Wars, which features the DARK SIDE as the opposite of the world of Jedi. Apparently it’s an evil world. Why is school administration considered the evil side of education? I recently spent a few months over in the DARK SIDE, and it is dark! However, it is dark in a good way! Confused? Just keep reading.
Over the past few years I have been working towards moving into administration. My passion for teaching history has sort of morphed into a passion for education in general, and I want to be able to have an opportunity to make education better for more than just 180 students each year. Therefore, moving into administration is my current goal. I recently spent a few months as a Teacher on Special Assignment, filling in for our Assistant Principal of Supervision. This was an amazing opportunity that I was given, and it was also my invitation to the DARK SIDE. I could tell you stories about my time in the supervision office, and trust me, I have stories, but this isn’t the place. I’ll just say I loved the experience and it was very rewarding.
Having taught for the past 8 years, my experiences and time spent in the office have been fairly limited. As teachers, we kind of know what’s going on up there, and we make assumptions about what administrators do every day, but we spend our time in the classroom. What we think we know about administration is based on snapshots of what we see and emails we receive from admin. As classroom teachers, we don’t really know what the dark side is. That’s why it’s dark!
Here is my theory of why school administration IS the DARK SIDE, but in a GOOD WAY.
When people ask me what surprised me the most about becoming an administrator, my answer is always the same… What surprised me most was how much stuff goes on up in the office that teachers have no idea about. Everyone works very hard making the school run effectively and efficiently. They put out fires, they collaborate, they think about ways to make the school better, they worry about the nuts and bolts. They do A LOT. School administration IS the DARK SIDE because they do all of this while allowing teachers to teach, and not worry about anything other than the success of their students. It’s dark because it’s unknown, not because it’s evil. As a teacher I was oblivious to all of the things that administrators and their support staff deal with and I’m kinda glad. Teachers just want to teach. Administrators, when doing their job effectively, create a school where teachers get to put all of their efforts into teaching and helping their students. A good administrator is like Superman, but teachers may only see Clark Kent. As teachers, we don’t always see what work went into making things happen. We don’t always see the fires being put out, the passion of administrators working on something to improve the school, or the countless hours of work. We don’t see that SIDE of education very often. That happens over in the DARK SIDE. I look forward to my next visit.