Part of figuring out how to be a great principal is balancing the demands of the job with your family. This is something that, admittedly, I’m still working on. The reason I’m bringing this particular topic up is my wife recently asked me why I never invite her to anything. My answer, “Why would I do that?” didn’t go over very well. Especially when I followed up with, “I wouldn’t want to go to your functions”. Needless to say I immediately invited her to the next school function. :-) The following 3 tips may keep you out of the dog house and off the couch.
Shut if off
You know this might be the hardest tip to follow. With the laptops and tablets that some districts are giving to administrators (as well as our cell phones) the upper administration, our staff, and students have constant access to us. In fact this has become a norm. However, it’s okay to shut it down once you leave the office. I’ve found that staff, students, and even upper administration are okay waiting until the next business day to get a reply. I have yet to get a repercussion for not responding to an email or text message after 6pm. Once you’ve shut it off make sure you’re fully engaged with your family.
One of the tips that helped me was actually scheduling time to be involved with my wife and children. One night of the week is date night. Sunday and Monday are typically family dinner nights as neither my wife nor I work. Tuesday and Thursday I try to make sure I’m spending some time with the kids while mom is at work. Friday is a free for all where everybody is kind of fending for themselves. I’ve found that when I do stick to the schedule everything else falls into place and I’m actually more productive at work because I know nothing will be going home.
This is the latest tip I’ve added and it ties into the anecdote I mentioned in the opening paragraph. I didn’t realize that my wife was feeling excluded because I have no need to attend her functions. I was basing my choices on my own perspective and personality instead of focusing on her. And essentially this is what I needed to change. Not only does including her in after school activities help her be part of other aspects of my life I’m also hopeful it demonstrates the high regard with which I hold her.
One of the aspects of being a great principal is figuring out how to intertwine all aspects of your life. Turning off electronic communication after a set time, scheduling family time and showing off your significant other are great ways to connect and reconnect with what’s important.
What are some other strategies you use to make sure your family continues to feel like a priority? Please share your ideas in the comment section below.
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For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my other blogs and/or pre order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, new episodes weekly. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group. To be a guest on The Principal Entrepreneur podcast email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm an owner of a new food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......