Six Minutes In


It happened about six minutes into our day. On my first day as a new Principal, we had gathered all of our second grade students in the cafeteria to start the day. These students are new to the building so we wanted to gather them in one location prior to leading them to their individual classrooms. Of course, buses were late, as is wont to happen on the first day of school.

Everyone was running around from one spot to another…

Helping second grade students make their way to the cafeteria…

Helping third grade students find their new classrooms…

Making sure that all buses had arrived…


About six minutes in, I made my way to the cafeteria when a staff member pulled me aside, and uttered the simple words, “I think we have an issue.” I noticed a small boy huddled against the wall. I saw tears, and a teacher comforting the student. As I approached, I thought he might be upset because he had to leave his family to come to school.

Getting closer, I realized what the true problem was. On the wall was an eyelet screw meant to anchor the volleyball net when using the cafeteria for physical education classes. Except at this moment, it wasn’t locking in the volleyball net…

It was locking in a child’s finger.


The child was huddled against the wall because he couldn’t go anywhere else. His finger was stuck, knuckle deep in the eyelet screw. In that moment, he was very upset. A quick-thinking staff member ran and grabbed some dish detergent. I poured the detergent onto his finger and applied a healthy coating.

At this point, we were ten minutes into our day, and I was hoping it wouldn’t get any worse. After some prolonged effort, we were able to wiggle the child’s finger out of the eye hook. A quick visit to the nurse to check out the finger, and the boy was back in class ready for the rest of the day.

In the span of about 20 minutes, we went from excitement to panic to relief back to excitement. I was able to greet the child as he arrived on the second day of school. Smile on his face, he was excited to return to school.

It is this excitement that draws each of us to our schools each day. We are there to harness this excitement, and turn it into learning. We are there to turn those moments of struggle (or in this case, panic) into learning opportunities.


Six minutes in.

I realized.

We are in for an interesting but amazing year!

Rich (@RACzyz)

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