COMPETENCY X: JOB SHADOWING

Competency X: Job Shadowing
Narrative Description: Throughout the course of the school day and additional
events, spend time shadowing Jeremy Brown (director of Woodland Park Academy).
The purpose of this task will be to gain insight into the daily tasks of a principal as
well as the decision-making requirements of the job. After shadowing, time will be
spent debriefing with Brown and reflecting on events of the day. Tasks will then be
prioritized and documented.
Smart Goal: By April of 2015, I will shadow Jeremy Brown for a total of 16 hours.
I.

Description and Rationale of the Project:
On two separate occasions, I was able to job shadow Mr. Jeremy Brown and gain
insight and understand to the multi-faceted profession if school administration. As a
result of completing this process, the depth of skills and responsibilities that a
principal must acquire has become clear. While two days of shadowing cannot
encompass every aspect of the position, the daily routine and demands of the being
a principal were apparent and created a realistic picture of how to fulfill the role of
principal.
Narrative Account 1, January 28th:
Arriving at 7 in the morning, I met Jeremy Brown in his office. Brown, after being
asked, reported that he likes to take this time to ease into the day and. He takes the
time to tie up loose ends from the previous day. Once the office staff reports, there
is a brief exchange about teachers that may be absent and substitute issues.
At 7:40, Brown and I then moved to the outside entrance of the building in order to
help students exit vehicles. During this process, bus students were also arriving. It
was part of our task to then ensure that students crossed in safety and busses were
located in the most convenient positions. With each student that entered we
welcomed the students to school. This helped to make an immediate connection
with students that set a positive tone for the day. Also, it allowed us the ability to
make face-to-face contact with parents.
Promptly after arrival procedures were carried out, Brown and myself then were
made aware of a fight that had occurred on one of the busses. The students were
placed in separate rooms and waited to be addressed. Brown commented that this
is important because students are more able to give adequate and rational
responses if some time has passed after a negative behavior has occurred. During
this time, there was a food services audit taking place. Brown demonstrated the
organizational system that had been created to account for student and staff meals.
While he noted that this was not required by the Michigan Department of Education,
it was definitely a manageable and effective system to track and dispute any
discrepancy that may arise. Because of this documentation, we were able to allow
the auditor to review files without much effort on our part. As a result, we were able
to leave the office and begin walking the hallway. On our way, we looked for safety
issues that may be present. Once we returned, the auditor had identified one area
that needed to be amended in our food service system. Brown was able to address

COMPETENCY X: JOB SHADOWING
the concern and provide documentation of the necessary change within a half an
hour of being provided the information.
During lunch on Wednesday, administrators supervise both 7 th and 8th grade
students in the lunchroom. When doing so, I circulated with students and have
conversations with students. Because these are the students that I teach, many
were very comfortable with me sitting down at their table or asking them to help
clean up if needed. This seemed to be an effective and appropriate time for an
administrator to be able to reach a large portion of the student body in a small
amount of time.
After lunch, we met with the intervention team to review and make changes to
interview questions. As I have sat on the interview panel several times, I was
familiar with the questions and the types of responses many of them would elicit.
However, this was an intervention aide position and not a teaching position. The
questions were altered to include specific requirements of the position that was
being interviewed for. During this process, a call was made that a kindergarten
student was attempting to run from the building. We quickly ran into the hallway
and were able to intercept the student. This was a new student to Woodland Park
Academy that was having a difficult time adjusting. Within the next hour, an
informal meeting was conducted with the teacher and a plan was created for the
student.
At the end of the day, students were monitored as they were boarding the busses.
Students are dismissed and checked on the busses my specials teachers. This
process seems to go smoothly and each teacher knows his or her assigned station
and responsibility.
Throughout the day, the most recurrent issue that needed to be addressed was
student behavior. Because of this, there was not enough time to observe teaching
and provide informal feedback on this process.
Narrative Account 2, February 11 (differences):
On this day, there was coffee and conversation at nine. This meeting contained
three parents, and was a beneficial platform to creating parent connections with the
school. Parents were able to help provide feedback for a community presentation
that was being created as well as ask questions about the school’s curriculum,
events, and policies.
On this day, informal observations were attempted. However, these were easily
sidelined once interpersonal conflict with the staff was addressed.
II. Project Outcomes
During the course of and after shadowing Mr. Jeremy Brown, I was able to spend
time debriefing the events of the day and asking questions of him. Some questions
that Jeremy said he asks himself in any given situation are: “Is this something that
should be addressed now?” and “Does this require my involvement?” According to

COMPETENCY X: JOB SHADOWING
Brown, considering these questions helps him to prioritize tasks as they happen
throughout the day.
Another question I had was about how to handle interpersonal conflict between
teachers. Brown commented that these matters needed documentation and
investigation before there he would be able to intervene in a way directly may affect
the job status of a teacher. Being present and observant to the specific behavior
were critical components of how to address these situations.
III. Lessons Learned
Overall, shadowing Brown allowed me to understand the demands of the daily tasks
of being a principal. Throughout the day, Brown dealt with each situation fairly and
respectfully he was able to effectively address the next issue that came his way.
While there were certain priorities that we had set to accomplish, such as observing
teaching, these were not always accomplished due to the overwhelming amount of
student behavior that needed to be addressed.
Moving forward, now more than ever, a principal needs to be the instructional
leader in the building he or she is responsible for. If there was a schedule of informal
pop-ins and sheets to provide quick feedback to teachers, I feel as if this role would
be more manageable. Finding a more efficient way to address student behavior
should be created in order to be able to accomplish other tasks in the building.
In a traditional secondary school, it may be possible to assign teachers an ISS
position for an hour a day in order to monitor these students. These teachers would
also be responsible for informing teachers about which students were in ISS. This
would be my recommendation should no funding for a behavior room staff member
be available. In our building, I would recommend that the student be sent to a
partner teacher (if not disruptive) and once the referral had been processed the
student would be called to the office and receive his or her discipline action.
Also, I would definitely emulate the sincerity that Brown demonstrates to members
of the school community when addressing concerns. When the staff feels as if their
issue, even if it is minor, is being understood it creates cohesion. The staff feels
supported when this happens. Brown is not unwilling to have difficult conversations,
but he does so with the ability to consider the other perspective even if the
outcome will remain the same. I feel that this aspect of being a leader is critical and
creates a partnership between administration and staff.
Overall, being a principal is a job that comes with many responsibilities and
pressures. A quality principal has to be a person that understands this and
welcomes these tasks because he or she knows that decisions being made will
impact a child’s education. Leaders that believe their role is a powerful influence on
the success of a school are ultimately more successful.
Michigan Administrative Standard 5.4 states, “Candidates understand and can
evaluate the potential moral and legal consequences of decision- making in the
school.” When principals are aware of the impact his or her choices will make, they
will execute informed decisions that positively impact an organization and, most-

COMPETENCY X: JOB SHADOWING
importantly, student learning.