The Treehorn Express
Treehorn is the hero of a children’s book called The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heidi. It’s about a small boy with enormous problems, who remained totally ignored by all adults, including his parents, teachers and principal during an important period in his life. Like all young school pupils, he came to learn that adults don’t take much notice of school kids, no matter how dire the circumstances. Children are left on their own to survive, despite the stress that some very cruel adults impose on them – like the operators and users of NAPLAN the Wombat tests. The Shrinking of Treehorn is a powerful story with a morally-stunning conclusion.
I’m a Primary Principal
This is about the greatest job in the world. It is a task in which the pressures are continuous, demands can be contradictory and the days unending. It requires a high professional conscience, continuous personal development, superhuman energy, decision-making capacities as to what drives conflict resolution regarding the school’s curriculum and what should; and a level of personal reconciliation with professional ethics beyond the normal.
It’s a tough job, but it has an endless array of unusual, wondrous fringe benefits that other jobs don’t. The Practising Administrator once said that it has special perks. It asked in what other job can you….
Start the world all over again at the beginning of each school year and have an opportunity to influence its direction.
Touch a child and see your fingerprint.
Look around and see 100 kids trying to imitate some personal mannerism you didn’t even know you had.
Have the mother of a five-year-old faithfully entrust the dearest thing in her life to your care.
Have a seven-year-old show you his skinned knee but blink back his tears because he doesn’t want you to see him cry.
Feel a tug on your coat and look down to an enormous set of brown eye asking, “Do you know who I am?”
Feel the rush of success when you reply, “Of course I know you, Susie.”
Overhear one child tell another, “That’s our principal. He owns this school.”
See a young chap greedily eye the chocolate cupcake in his lunch-box – and then offer it to you.
Practice dentistry without a licence.
Have an excited teacher burst into your office shouting, “It worked!”
Hear a grateful mother say, “You were right. That’s what he needed.”
Watch a skilled teacher at work and remember how many times she came to you in tears in her first year.
Having hundreds of adults and children try to sing “Happy Birthday to You” with gooey icing from the tuckshop mothers’ cakes still in their mouths.
Watch your wife’s face, when a Year 1 points to her and announces confidently “That’s the principal’s mother.”
It’s the kind of job that makes one realise that there is a divine plan and that one has been chosen to play a special role in some children’s lives.