Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tough Decisions??

A good friend of mine asked me what is the hardest part of being a principal.

Bureaucracy? (I almost chose this one)

My answer: Making tough decisions to solve difficult problems.

I have a student, Biff, who was SENT OFF (my term for a juvenile detention center) and missed most of the school year. I must admit that I feel sorry for the little turd. Dad is incarcerated (in a real detention center). Mom is an addict. Biff lives with his grandmother, who is really trying to straighten him out. She came to me about a week ago and asked if I knew of any summer programs where she could send Biff. She works from 8 to 4 and is worried about leaving him home unsupervised. She began to cry. I don't like when grandmas cry in my office. I am not wired to handle that very well.

Tough Decision:
This summer I will be short staffed on custodial help. Normally, we hire a kid to come and work when we are short-handed. I threw out the notion of hiring Biff for this summer. My secretary thinks I am nuts. A few teachers have vowed to lock up all personal belongings (although Biff has never stolen anything-his issues normally involve tobacco, girls, and his temper). They might be right. I can just picture the debacle. He might be annoying. He might steal things. He might be lazy. I just don't know if it is worth the risk. I could list a 1,000 reasons not to hire this kid for the summer, but my gut tells me to do it. I got a hunch about the kid. Every single one on one encounter I have had with Biff has been respectful. If I had his parents, I would act out too. I really just think he needs somebody to believe in him.

I told him I would make my final decision and let him know tomorrow. We will see.


Unknown said...

wow a principal's blog. I love it! And no, i don't envy your job. I am a teacher and while I don't always agree with how my principal handles things, I know I am not walking in his shoes.

As for Biff, can anyone tell you what to decide? I dont think so. That's why you are paid the big bucks for this job.

Lindsey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Principal said...

Lol. I always go with my gut. I gave the kid a job this summer.

Anonymous said...

good for you. if it doesn't work out, so what? if it does, you probably saved a kid. that's what its all about.

Kim said...

If I didn't love where I teach so much, I would ask you to hire me. I would love to work for a principal who believes in kids they way you believe in BIFF.

Hire the boy! You may just be the turning point in his eternity!

Anonymous said...

oh no! grandma's crying!! good job with the kid. everybody needs someone to believe in them. hope it works out for everybody.

Zoemonster said...

those would all be hard


Ann aka ButDoctorIHatePink said...

I'm so glad you hired him! We've all heard the stories of that one person who made a difference in a child's life. You might be it for him.

We don't hear about the failures and maybe this will be one. But, locking up your stuff isn't so hard compared to what it could do for this kid's life.