Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Directors Need Lunch Too

Read:  Why an open door policy routinely kicks me in the butt.

I'm a chatty person; I love to hear about what's going on in the lives of the children, families, and teachers who pass through this building daily.  I ask questions and check in to see how everyone is doing, how that family vacation went, etc. When parents want to talk, I say things like, "I'm here all day, come stop in" and write in the newsletters (both parent and staff) that I'm available to chat.  I like to think that our entire site has a very open-door policy.  Parents and family members are routinely invited into the classrooms to participate in the communities their children are a part of... it's awesome.  I love when a mom or dad lingers in the morning and reads a story to the children.  What an amazing display of home & school connections!

Alas, my struggle is something different... whenever I stop moving long enough to eat, that's the exact moment when staff trickles into the office to ask a litany of questions -- great questions, I might add.  We're a burgeoning community of questioners and reflective thinkers.  I thought the solution to this might be to close my door for a quick moment while I inhale my food.  But it just never fails, someone will knock and I just can't help myself... I always answer.

Does that make me unprofessional?  To be mid-Ramen slurp when a teacher comes to chat about the NAEYC classroom portfolio?  It's nap time!  The teachers are capitalizing on this work time and can I really ignore these questions?  I worked so hard to get them to feel comfortable asking questions -- and to use rest time appropriately....

True, I could leave the site at this point, but I really don't want to be eating off-site daily ($$) and that would take me away from the team that has such wonderful questions.  I can't realistically eat lunch at 10 every day or at 3pm (which I have been known to do and then it's parents knockin' on the door, catching me mid-Ramen slurp)... what suggestions do you have?  How can I balance the needs of my teacher people & my stomachs demand to be fed?

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