Principal Eric Sacco in Kansas wears his school’s eagle mascot costume on the first day of school. Principal Lindsy Stumpenhorst in Illinois plays a game of hot potato with her staff during the school day. Principal Andy Jacks in Virginia dresses up as Elf on the Shelf and hangs out in the media center. Principal Tonya Hilburn in Louisiana dresses up every Friday and brings the Treat Trolley around to her staff members. I could keep going on about what I have seen from principals in my PLN and how they inspire me, but the point is, principals, you need to be silly.
As an aside, I am an extroverted introvert, and many of my principal friends are, too. We can be “on” and exhibit outgoing characteristics, but we can also be “off” and need time to be by ourselves to recharge. I say this because, although I’ve been silly and worn costumes like a pirate, Horton from Dr. Seuss, and the Mad Hatter for years, it takes preparation and energy to do so. But, principals, being silly is so worth it.
Students, families, and staff members love to see you dressing up, singing, dancing, kissing a pig, camping on the roof, taking a whipped cream pie in the face, all those crazy things principals do.
Being silly also demonstrates to staff members that it’s important to step out of your comfort zone and take risks. We expect students to do that so we educators need to role model that for them and who is the lead role modeler for silliness? It’s the principal.
Being silly makes you human, accessible, and let’s others get to know you on a different level. You can share hidden talents, passions, unrealized dreams, and show a side that many don’t always get to see from the principal.
A final reason to ride a tricycle through the hallways, zip down the slide, jump rope, and sing karaoke is that it adds to the spirit and culture of a school. If the principal is willing to be silly and have fun, that attitude will be contagious and fun will permeate your school’s hallways and spaces.
So principals, step out of your comfort zone, have fun, and be silly. After being inspired by watching other principals’ silliness, I sang a version of Adele’s “Hello” in my welcome back-to-school video, live, no lip syncing! The reception has been positive and amazing and I’m already thinking about my next act. Dancing anyone?