Sunday, February 23, 2014
From time to time, my students ask me if I ever want to be a principal. I sort of chuckle and state that perhaps someday, but for now, working with them was where God has placed me. However, a couple of years ago I enrolled in a Masters Leadership program at Calvin College. With this degree I would be trained to take on principal duties. While taking the courses associated with the program, I often wondered what it would be like to be a principal at a school. Last month I received a crash course on what it means to take on the role of a principal here at Calvin Christian School.
When Mr. Postma suffered a concussion a few weeks ago and then a heart attack shortly after, I gained new insight in the demands of his job. Calvin Christian School has been blessed by an extraordinary leader. Mr. Postma's dedication to his job and his attention to detail are unsurpassed. When I discovered that Mr. Postma would have to take a leave of absence to provide healing for his body, I was suddenly thrust into the role of school principal, or as the Board of Directors called it "Interim Principal”. After close to twenty years of being a vice principal, I would now see first hand some of the challenges associated with being the leader of a Christian elementary school.
One of the first days on the job had me dealing with a mountain of paper work related to paying bills, approving class trips, reviewing schedules, checking injury reports, and studying committee reports. In between the paper work, I tried to juggle the student needs that presented themselves during that day. Creating peace among students who desperately sought to protect their snow forts and snow boulders was of the utmost importance to those students involved in the snow wars – I get it, though, I remember what it was like being a kid and this stuff is important! This day also happened to be an open house type of day where we invited prospective Jubilee students and their parents to come visit us. It was important to spend a little bit of time connecting with some of these visitors. However, I needed to squeeze in a meeting with an insurance agent while this was going on. Image my dismay when the fire alarm went off in the middle of this meeting and I hadn't planned for any drills on this day. The agent looked at me for direction and I had to hustle him out of the building along with all our students, teachers, parents and 3 year olds! Mr. Postma would never schedule a fire drill on a day such as this one. Thankfully it was a false alarm. The day ended mercifully with an after school meeting, followed by an evening meeting.
So, do you want to be a principal? I'm not sure. But what I do know is that CCS has been blessed by its present leader – Mr. Ted Postma. I also know that I am surrounded by a wonderful community of parents who shared words of encouragement and support as I took on some of the principal duties. My colleagues were quick to volunteer to help with yard duties, classroom supervision, and other student interactions. The rest of the front office staff took on added assignments and pitched in where ever they could. My own class of students recognized that classroom life would be a little hectic for a while while Mr. B. takes care of other situations. The boy’s basketball team ran their own practice. To me that is what community life at a school should be like. We bathed Mr. Postma in prayer, hoping for a speedy recovery, but in the meantime, we carry on with God's work at the school.