You would probably think that since there are no students or teachers at school, a
principal doesn’t really do much of anything during the summer. While summer has an entirely different pace than the academic school year, there is still plenty to keep a principal busy.
The first point to clarify is that there actually are students and teachers at school during the summer. The faculty technology institute starts right away, the week after school is out. Summer Technology Institute is a fancy name for teachers becoming students for the purpose of learning how to be teachers. Follow that? After 25 years of hanging around teachers on a regular basis, I’ve learned that teachers are perpetual learners. Contrary to the “just hit play” model of lesson planning, teachers are painstakingly refining and redesigning the very best lesson plans that will enable students to learn and to think at higher levels. The technology institute helps teachers learn new and innovative skills that enhance both the teaching and the learning. So yes, teachers are at school in the summer. And principals get to learn right along with them.
Students are at school in the summer, too. At Benilde-St. Margaret’s, we have over 600 students signed up for this year’s summer camp offerings. There’s the usual array of athletic camps, along with drama, orchestra, science and a “Fun in the Son” servant leadership camp. The campus is buzzing with students of all ages during the summer, so a principal gets to tootle around and enjoy the fun without breaking a sweat. Seeing teachers and students on campus during the summer is the highlight for me.
The other principal business of summer is my chance to sort through files, double check the master schedule for the fall, help new students register, finalize plans for professional development workshops, review student achievement data and take care of the “that’s-a-summer-project-list” items. The different pace of summer means I set my alarm to ring an hour later in the morning, and get home well before the sun sets in the evening. I don’t always wear a suit to school and I might even wear some flip-flops (well, maybe).
While the start of a new summer is delightful, nothing beats the fresh start of a new academic school year. I will enjoy the summer, spend some time getting ready for a new school year and be ever grateful to be a principal.