Most of us have a time of our workday that is our favorite. It may be the first pour of coffee from the staff lounge; the moment the “inbox” is empty; lunch shared with colleagues; maybe even the slam of the door in our car as we’re leaving for the day. It’s the moment we breathe. Deeply.
Mine is 9:30 a.m.
My friend Scott pointed this out to me; I’d never heard it so clearly articulated. We were talking about the first day of school, and the frantic, rushed, confusing time it can be as all the students stream off the school bus and into the building. Phones are ringing; buses are late; there may even be tears from particularly sensitive or anxious children. It seems there are one hundred places to be and one hundred problems to fix. Go-go-go-go.
“But then nine thirty will come,” he said, dreamy-like. His voice actually lilted: Nine. Thir. Tee.
Nine thirty is a great time of day on the first day, and on every other day, too. It is the magic time when all the students are in their classrooms, meeting together as a class. Teachers have settled into their routine. All the preparation is being put into practice. No one is in trouble—yet. No parents have complained. All of the morning questions have been answered. Everyone is safe, secure, and where they are supposed to be. PD has been delivered; IEP meetings have concluded; announcements and attendance and lunch counts and parent phone calls have been finished.
So, for a principal, it is the most calm, quiet, productive time of day.
No one needs us to be anywhere. In fact, no one wants us to be around.
It’s time to breathe.
I get more done in the time slot starting at 9:30 than any other time, because I’m super-focused. I work quickly and efficiently, because I know my window of time for productivity is small. Shit’s gonna start hitting the fan, for sure, and it might happen any moment. So I revel in the quiet, in the productivity, in the time I can breathe differently.
Think about it: What’s the time in your day you breathe differently?