12 Times The Office Perfectly Described a Principal’s Day

It feels a little too much like Dunder Mifflin these days, TBH.

12 Times The Office Describes a Principal's Day Perfectly

A day in the life of a principal is more than meetings and paperwork. In this job, you are a peacemaker, an accountant, an occasional substitute teacher, and a juggler. Share this with the next person who thinks your job is a piece of cake.

1. Arriving at school is like a wedding flash mob.

It’s a beautiful outside, and you’ve got a cup of fresh coffee! This is going to be an awesome day!

2. Four teachers out sick? You’ve got this!

As soon as you walk in, you are notified that four teachers have called in sick. With some quick phone calls and creative thinking, you take care of it. Now you can take off your coat, sit down, and open your email.

3. Every day brings shocking amounts of email.

You have 57 new messages––close your computer. This is very typical for a day in the life of a principal––and it just gets worse.

4. Managing parents takes a special kind of patience.

Your phone rings, and it’s a parent: She has issues with the no-nut policy, and she’d like to discuss them. Her son cannot have lunch without a Nutella sandwich. You explain that this is a policy that is meant to protect students with allergies and that if her son were allergic, she’d want to see this policy enforced. She tells you that she would like to meet in person.

5. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Your teachers need to keep kids happy, but you need to keep your teachers happy. Doing a little bit each day will reap huge benefits for your school community.

6. The accumulation of emails can make you weep.

You leave your desk for a few minutes, and you come back to 12 new emails.

7. A surprise guest never fails to deliver interest.

Your administrative assistant knocks on your door. There’s a parent waiting in your office who demands to speak to you right away. He is upset because his child’s name was misspelled in the band concert program.

8. Substituting energizes you.

On a lucky day, you get to substitute for a class period. No one disturbs you, and you remember why you do this work. Kids are amazing!

9. Lunch for one in your office.

Sometimes, a random stomach rumble reminds you that it’s almost 1 pm and you have not had lunch. The cafeteria is closed, and you certainly didn’t bring anything with you. Time for a desperate measure: You get lunch from the vending machine and eat it … while you answer email.

10. Let’s just call it iced coffee.

At some point, you realize that you never drank your coffee this morning. It’s cold, but you don’t care.

11. You waited so long, you now have to run to the bathroom.

It happens to all of us: It’s suddenly 2 pm, and you have not been to the bathroom. As you are washing your hands, the colleague next to you starts a conversation about students they are concerned about. There is no place in this building where you can escape.

12. You’re never really sure how you do it.


The busses are pulling out of the parking lot, and you have 13 new emails. You have 40 minutes to put a dent in your inbox before you have to pick up your own child for a dentist appointment. Somewhere, you need to squeeze in a trip to the grocery store. You are confident that this is possible, especially if you can sneak in another cup of coffee.

Just another day.

Join our Facebook group Principal Life for more conversation about and insights into the challenges of school leadership.

Posted by Anne Rubin

Anne Gomez Rubin has been a dean and teacher in Minneapolis, MN, since 2016. She tweets about education, intersectional feminism, and tacos on Twitter at @annegrubin .

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