Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What’s it like to be a…..Christian high school principal?

If you have had this position for a while, how have things changed?What does my normal day look like?  Is it consistent throughout the year?

When school is in session, late August to early June, I am in the office well before 6:00 a.m., at school or school-related meetings during the day, at home for supper between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., and then back at school for the evening until 9:30 -ish p.m.

When school is in session, early morning time until about 7:15 a.m. is a wonderful and necessary planning time.  It is during this time I do short-term and long-term planning and take care of lots of correspondence.  Teachers and students begin filling the hallways around 7:15 a.m., and from that time until 4:00 p.m. I am “on” for running the high school.

Being “on” means being available to students and teachers throughout the school day using a “managing by walking around” style.  This walking around involves answering and responding to a myriad of situations, questions, phone calls, and e-mails, and being available to students, parents, alumni and teachers who stop in throughout school day.  It also means being a presence and observing the daily flow and interaction of a dynamic Christian community.  Education is touching and influencing lives and this can only be done by “being there.”

I am home to have supper with my wife from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., and then I’m back again for the evening, which includes parent meetings, board meetings, and supervision of student and athletic activities.  Over time supervision of activities becomes more like “I really want to be there to support and encourage students and coaches and parents- it’s our ministry, I don’t want to miss out.”

During the summertime, I maintain school office hours from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., except for those times when I’m on vacation.  I am allocated five weeks of vacation out of 52 weeks each year.  Summer is filled with planning and preparation for the new year.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 05/19 at 02:19 PM
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

What’s it like to be an….architect/business professor?

My job title is: architect/business professor
My actual position is: founder/principal architect/former partner of AMDG architects, currently associate professor of business at Calvin College

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
Architect:  Meetings with staff, consulting engineers, clients, code officials, doing architectural design, project management (tasks, budgets, schedules), reviewing construction drawings, managing the business side, personnel reviews and training, marketing and going after new projects; pretty well consistent through the year now that there are concrete admixtures which allow pouring concrete in the winter in Michigan. We’ve grown from one person (myself doing everything) to 15+ staff.  It has become more management and less doing the project drawings myself which are now done mostly by other staff. The move toward more computer design for the conceptual design process and construction drawings has meant technological changes, and design/build approach continues to grow vs. the more traditional approach with having an architect provide drawings and then bidding it out to several contractors.

Professor:  Teaching methods are changing somewhat to better adapt to the students’ expectations and learning styles, much more experiential and discussion vs. straight lecture.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 05/14 at 12:54 PM
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What’s it like to be a….Social Work Professor?

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed? 
My day is varied and includes preparation and teaching of classes to social work majors, participation in departmental and college wide committee work, and academic advising.

What other, if any, positions have you held prior to your current job? How did you get to where you are now?
 
My background in social work is also varied.  I worked full time while working toward my Master’s Degree in Social Work:
I worked as a career counselor at a technical college, working with young people completing certificate programs to write resumes and cover letters, prepare for interviews, and search for jobs. 
In addition to this I worked briefly at a pre-natal clinic for low-income mothers in Irvington, NJ. I worked directly with the pregnant mothers and the medical professionals to connect the women and their families to needed resources including housing, food stamps, Medicaid, and where necessary, substance abuse treatment. 
After this I worked in Newark, NJ as a supervisor with the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA). This is an organization that works with the courts to help oversee cases of child abuse and neglect and to advocate for the children and families in order for the children to move toward permanency, either back at home with their parents or toward adoptive families. 
My most recent work, prior to teaching, was working with homeless women and children and in the development of low-income housing, including permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, housing for persons with AIDS (HOPWA), senior housing, and housing for people with disabilities.  Most of this work was done with Lutheran Social Ministries of NJ and also in Grand Rapids with Genesis Non Profit Housing Corporation.

I got to where I am now by always learning that regardless of what job I found myself doing at any given time, that there were valuable lessons, skills, and abilities to learn which could be transfered to my next position.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 05/12 at 09:45 AM
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Friday, May 08, 2009

What’s it like to be a….Physician’s Assistant?

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
I work in a family practice setting so I see patients ranging from infants to the elderly. I work from about 7:45-5:30/6:00 seeing many different cases every day, ranging from the common cold to lacerations to diabetes, etc.

What other, if any, positions have you held prior to your current job? How did you get to where you are now?
None. I got my bachelor’s degree majoring in Spanish and went on to PA school immediately after graduating.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 05/08 at 08:49 AM
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Monday, May 04, 2009

What’s it like to be an…Assistant Dean of Residence Life?

What does a normal day look like? Is it consistent throughout the year? If you’ve had this position for a while, how have things changed?
Certain aspects of my job I perform almost daily, while other responsibilities are much more seasonal.  Regardless of the time of year, I meet with students and staff each day to work out issues of housing or to discuss a housing policy violation.  In addition, I am a liaison to other campus departments (Food service, Building services, Academic Services, and Admissions).  I have weekly interactions with these departments and represent the Residence Life Department in those meetings.  Finally, I supervise the Knollcrest East Apartments and the Area Coordinator position coordinating various student support and accountability services with the Dean of Students for Judicial Affairs.

In the summer, I help with roommate matching, assist with orientation programs, and prepare for opening the residence halls and apartments to students in the fall.  This includes helping with Resident Director and Residence Assistant training.  In the fall and winter, I teach a first year experience class, mentor the hall presidents, and review our policies and procedures.  In the spring I facilitate the room selection process for returning students in both the residence halls and apartments and help plan summer improvement projects.  All in all, it is not a boring job, and no two days are the same.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 05/04 at 02:24 PM
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