All of us know people that we have encountered in our lives that just “have it together.” We are jealous by their constant happiness and ability to adapt rapidly to change. This is the type of person that the book Transitions by William Bridges wants us all to be. As we transition (or prepare to) to an administrative role, we have to first stop and think about this physical and emotional change and how we will be affected.
As Transitions mentions as their Rule #2 (Bridges, 2004, p. 11), every transition begins with an ending. We are finishing our duties and roles as classroom teachers and preparing ourselves for what sometimes seems to be an unknown. How exactly different is the life of an administrator than the life of a teacher. Is it easier/harder? Is it more stressful? Questions abound, but what we also have is desire and motivation. We are taking this next step because we feel we are ready. We read the books, we attend the conferences, we go to the workshops, we are networking….we are ready. Transitions references three distinct phases of every transition: an ending, the transition period, and the beginning. Before a transition period can occur, we must end something. This could be a mindset or just a physical end to something. I feel the transition period is the most important phase. This time period can vary depending on the size of the transition. Some people call this transition time “closure”.
Now, how does this apply to us? What should we leave behind, or put behind us, when we’re in this transition period? One element is the time spent with our students. The reason why I got into education in the first place was to form relationships with my students and watching them grow into mature, responsible citizens. Now I have to leave my classroom and communicate more with teachers? This is a tough transition for me to make. But, I can still affect students as an administrator! Sure, I won’t be physically around them as much, but I can still be a presence in the hallways, by the busses, and in classrooms. I can also influence how teachers interact with their students by working with them to improve their classroom instruction and effectiveness.
This is just one professional transition that we are (or will) encounter. I’m curious as to what other transitions new administrators have had to deal with, and how they maneuvered around them to make them successful transitions.
Bridges, W. (2004). Transitions: Making sense of life’s changes. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.