Return to: Articles

Back in "Principal School"

by Steve Cox, April 23, 2003

Thirsty?Before starting my first year in a principal position for a small Christian school in Merritt, I went to Trinity Western University and took a Master's course in school administration and leadership. I learned about effective methods of teacher evaluation, school direction and philosophy, the importance of mission statements and discipline methods. I read about leadership techniques and steps to developing quality schools. I wrote papers on strategies to measure school growth and made personal goals.

I have to admit, my recent To-Do list looks very little like the course I took ten years ago. Recently, I rescued a student from a locked stall, reformatted a digital timer, and fixed a wifi antenna with parts from my “stuff drawer.” I spent hours on my computer as I fumbled through MSOutlook to begin a school promotion, dialed Skype to get more information on a budget item, logged in to Facebook to confirm school bus bookings, and fumed over a MSAccess upgrade. My desk became a graveyard of broken items that needed to be replaced or fixed. I spent time counseling and being counseled. I climbed the roof to get a shoe, judged a crazy head contest and unplugged a stuffed toilet. They missed preparing me for many things in "principal school."

SO, are we teaching the skills our students will need when they graduate in 10 years? Will technology stop long enough for elementary students to use what they learn when they graduate? These are tough questions—and any philosophical answer is a master’s paper in the making.

Today’s students need to learn to be learners. They need to learn how to cope with their challenges. They need to build on their acquisition of knowledge. They will need to learn to shoot for a moving target.

In contrast, learning the unchanging character of God is a timeless truth. Understanding who you are in Christ is something you will need to face in every stage of your life. Seeing everyday events through an eternal perspective will never lose its value. It’s good to know that at Heritage, we understand developing disciples of Christ will not be outdated.

Steve Cox