Day in the life of
School Principal – Meredith Essalat, M.Ed.
I’m up at 5:00AM and on-campus by 6:45AM. My day is comprised of classroom observations, teacher meetings, dealing with student disciplinary infractions, subbing for an ill teacher, and meeting with parents/guardians. Usually, I leave campus by 5:30PM to work from home beginning at 7:30PM on responding to emails, etc. from the day.
Here is a breakdown of my typical day:
- 4:30AM: Wake up
- Check/respond to emails
- 6:45AM: Arrive at school
- 7:00AM-7:50AM: Greet students/parents/guardians
- 8:00AM: Lead morning announcements in Auditorium with the whole school
- 8:15AM-11:30AM: Combination of classroom observations, student discipline meetings, parent/guardian meetings, staff follow-ups/check-ins
- 11:30AM-1:00PM: Lunchtime supervision (interacting with students in the cafeteria and on play yard)
- 1:00PM-3:45PM: More of morning rotation
- 3:45PM-4:15PM: Dismissal
- 4:15PM-5:30PM: Meetings, emails, wrap-up from the day
- 7:30PM-10:30/11:00PM: More emails and follow-up from the day
- Curriculum review
- Parent/guardian engagement
- Student discipline, coaching
- Teacher observations, hiring, recruiting, coaching/mentoring
- Parent Association guidance
- Policy development
- Assist with Student Government
- Assist with on-campus events/activities
- Establishment of partnerships with outside organizations for student development
I get to impact the whole school community versus the microcosm of my individual classroom. Getting to know students in all grade levels, watching and championing their growth and development, is a true highlight. Working with parents/guardians to strengthen the community dynamic of our school has yielded tremendous bonds and relationships. Watching seeds planted regarding curriculum, activities, community initiatives, etc. evolve into tenants of what makes our school unique is a source of pride.
This job requires a 24/7 commitment. There is never a moment that doesn’t require attention and priority. I equate it to drinking from a fire hose— the variety of things requiring my attention keeps the day-to-day vibrant, never stagnant. But, there is the underlying expectation that one is “on” at all times, ready to react and respond to a myriad of issues, concerns, and emergencies.
Meredith Essalat, M.Ed.
Meredith is a school principal in San Francisco. She holds two Master’s in Education degrees and is also the author of the book The Overly Honest Teacher: Parenting Advice from the Classroom.
plan, direct, or coordinate the academic, administrative, or auxiliary activities of kindergarten, elementary, or secondary schools.