I've heard more than one teacher say that schools would run perfectly if it wasn't for the students. Leaving aside the obvious point that without the students, the school itself wouldn't exist, it also shows another belief that many, many teachers have. That belief runs something along the lines of that if you are involved in schools and you don't have students in front of you on a daily basis, then life is a lot easier. That means anyone in leadership or administration have got life easy - after all, they don't have a class to teach!
Being in this role of Coordinator over the past five years has been a real eye opener for me. Although it is officially a first step role for official leadership in schools, it does open new perspective of the so called advantages of being a leader. I've been sitting on the fence, not in an indecisive way but in terms of that I still have a foot in both camps. I'm still a classroom chalkface practitioner for 3/4 days a week with my own bunch of 30 individuals to teach, assess, build relationships and manage in that time. But the rest of my role involves budgets, crystal ball gazing, planning and implementing, reacting to and juggling requests and crises, and doing a bit of leading out in keeping our school moving forward towards their "up-to-date- technology" vision (new vision coming soon!) whilst keeping everyone informed.
So I'm going to point a few things I've learned by being on both sides of the fence - some things that my colleagues who've chosen to stay in the classroom aren't or don't want to be aware of.
Classroom perspective: Leadership gets paid so much more than us, so they need to earn that money.
Leadership perspective: It's not as much as you think. My leadership salary is 4% more than I was earning as a full time classroom teacher - I can tell you for a fact, I am working much more than 4% harder than when I started this gig.
Classroom perspective: Leadership doesn't have to worry about dealing with the students.
Leadership perspective: Leadership do have to deal with students but quite often end up dealing with the time outs, the yard behaviour problems, the suspension re-entries and as a special bonus, the irate parents. Granted, the latter also accost classroom teachers as well but they seem to save their biggest heads of steam for the principal!
Let's not forget the late or missed lunches, the covering for classes when relievers don't turn up, having a huge pile of work to get through that gets bigger as the day goes on because one urgent issue after another pops up, the speaking in front of the staff when everyone wants to go home, the default "you'll chair this meeting" mindset in committees, being the person who gets glared at when something on the network doesn't work first up, and the "Have you just got a minute? My computer's playing up."
Not forgetting that the latter example often happens on the days I'm on the classroom teacher side of the fence.....