Because we so easily get caught up in the less important or because
we so easily busy ourselves with symbols, and scores, and keeping our
heads above the flood of paperwork, we sometimes forget who we are
and why we are here. So, I would remind you as I remind myself.
The most important people who enter this school's doors each day
are not the principal, nor even the teachers.
The most important people who enter this school each morning are
the students. Students are not an interruption of our work: they are the
purpose of it.
Students are not cold statistics. They are sensitive young adults with
feelings and emotions just like our own.
Students are young people who bring us their needs, and it is our
responsibility to meet those needs professionally, courteously, and
expeditiously. Teach and cherish them. That is why we are here.
It was surprising to see how many school administrators valued the use of humor. They felt it was important to not only laugh with others but to be able to laugh at themselves and not to take themselves too seriously. A number of administrators reported that it was especially gratifying to use light humor to break tension or to deal with a delicate situation. But as one administrator cautioned, "Be careful with and respectful of humor; don't try to make anyone look bad or be the butt of a joke."
Dennis Matthews, an administrator in Vancouver, Washington (personal communication, April 22, 1992), shared the following story that illustrates the use of humor.
I testified before the House Education Committee as a part of a panel. I noticed that my former high school teacher (a representative from eastern Washington) sat poised and ready for the panel's presentation; so I said, "I will approach this as an assignment. Let me know my grade." A few weeks later a member of the House staff wrote me a note: "You received an A minus. Call me and we'll talk about how you can get an A+!"
School administrators constantly reflect their values in whatever they do. They must keep in mind that they are models others look to for leadership. They must keep in mind that their mission ultimately is to educate human beings in an