The Humor of the Situation
Going back to school when you are nearly 50 is not easy, but TCSJ provides a way to make it doable. One of the best—but also funniest—parts of the program is fieldwork.
As a potential administrator, you do not get to pick your fieldwork site. This is wise because I would have picked wrong. I would have chosen to stay at the high school level for fieldwork, but that would have kept me blind to the world of elementary education. So, it is pretty awesome that I have had the privilege of spending 12 days this year at French Camp elementary.
Some of the most important parts of the day as an administrator is learning to interact with as many students as you can before school, during lunch, and after school. Wearing my East Union High School ID has led to some interesting conversations because that is the school where many of these French Camp students will attend next.
Inevitably, questions can go like this:
“Do you know ____________? She’s my older sister!”
“I want to be in your class some day.”
“What do you teach there?”
“Are you going to be our new principal?”
Last semester, one of these conversations really escalated because a student whose older sister was in my class, needed to be listened to after school. When we were done, I escorted him to his waiting ride and said hello to his mother, as best I could in Spanish.
The next day, my ELD student couldn’t decide if she should be smiling or frustrated when she said, “All we talked about at the dinner table last night was how cool Mr. Gale is.”
Another time, a lunch-time student asked me how come I was bald. I told him I choose to shave my head because I had lost so much hair already. He replied, “My dad is bald too. But he looks like Gargamel.”
A big part of being a leader, is learning to listen. As you make connections with students, they can say some funny things, but it means a lot when they let you into their world. Sometimes, the conversations have been more difficult, but laughter can really help calm a struggling student.
Regardless, the fieldwork experience at French Camp elementary has been amazing and I’m so grateful that this is a key component of the TCSJ admin credential program.