Thursday I had the privilege of serving as Principal for a Day at Bloom Elementary School. As a parent of two RPS 205 high school students I have spent many hours volunteering in classrooms over the years, but this was my first opportunity to shadow an administrator.
Apparently I had forgotten the true meaning of the phrase “multi-task,” and I admit the pace made me realize exactly why I don’t lose weight as quickly on the same diets that were successful years ago. I consider myself quite adept at assessing multiple situations and hearing varying questions and conversations simultaneously, and my skills were certainly put to the test.
I’ve never questioned the value of our teachers and principals. I began my college career oh, so long ago anticipating that I would one day teach English. But our educators today – including principals, because they never stop teaching – are asked to be so much more. They are attendance secretary because the clerical support is serving as nurse because we don’t have the resources for full-time nurses. They are disciplinarian, social worker, parent, mentor, and friend.
Spending time following Mrs. K and seeing how she spends some of her day was only part of my experience. I visited lunch hour and recess, and watched excellent artists in Ms. Rydberg’s class.
I was invited to Mrs. Marshall’s class because I wanted to see a science class and they were about to give group presentations on systems of the human body. But before they began I was asked to share a little about what I do at Rock Valley College.
That’s my favorite part of my job: telling people about RVC. I was the only thing standing between these 4th graders and lunch, so it could have been a tough crowd. But as I talked about how I speak to people in the community and the newspaper, radio stations, and television to help them know Rock Valley College’s story, suddenly hands shot up in the air. Mrs. Marshall graciously allowed me to take questions and we talked about science classes at RVC, students their age in our Whiz Kids program, students like their grandparents in our Center for Learning in Retirement, and everything in between.
Many of the students wanted to share that a parent, sibling, or friend was or is a student at RVC. I smiled and told them that’s the great thing about Rock Valley College – we touch so many lives.
I talked with the class about how important it is to think about college at their age, not thinking about getting through middle school, or just graduating from high school . . . but focusing on college as a key step toward a degree or certificate, or a career where they can earn a nice living to support a family someday.
Mrs. Marshall said the class likely learned more from me than I did from them. I’m not sure that’s the case because my recollection of the digestive system was pretty fuzzy. But I do agree with her assessment that students of all ages need to be told that college is an achievable goal for everyone.
It was a wonderful day and I hope the district will have me back. And for those parents who may have heard the story: yes, I am the lady who talked about the cadavers.