Interim – Day 1 – Rattled

Over a weekend I interviewed and successfully gained the position of Interim Head of Special Education at my High School. The position is short term, 10 days in length, but could be extended until the end of the semester.

I have been in Special Education for over a decade, but this is my first position of responsibility in this department.

These posts are going to focus on the questions that popped up on the daily.

Some got answered, some are still in process. Most questions I had some clue how to action, but even more have me chasing squirrels to find answers.

The questions [in no particular order]

What can you really do with a position of leadership that is 10 days long?

What should I focus on? Relationships? Mentoring? Just keep the boat straight and hope for good weather?

Who do I know that I can call if I need to?

Where did I put my walkie-talkie?

When do I tell the team that I am the Interim Head?

Should I move into the former Head’s office?

What’s my new extension?

Damn, the files I need are locked in that cabinet, where are the keys?

Damn, the files I need are in the former Head’s Google Drive, but I can’t contact her, can I?

When are the Regional Heads meetings? Who do I ask about that?

When am I going to get to my marking?

When are the department head meetings at my school?

What is your name again?

Who haven’t I met yet in my department?

Do I send an email to introduce myself as new Head or go talk to each member?

How many sections do we have? Why do I keep thinking about this question?

What other committees do I now need to be a part of?

How do we divide up the former Head’s caseload? Do we wait? Are the kids okay? Should I just cover the spread and figure it out later?

Were those boxes there this morning?

Where did I leave my lunchbag?

Where did I leave my coffee? Is it with my lunch bag?

How did it get to 4:00 PM so fast?


smoke just kept rising
from it. never sparking,
never fully flaring. I wondered
if the damp air held the
coals in cool comfort. I
tried to conjure the last
time we shared this space:
soles up on rounded rock, 
toes pointing to the sky,
stars rising, the fire
ebbing. I remember your face 
appear and vanish in a kind of 
stop motion pantomime, each 
expression separated by dark
then golden flickers. Pauses
brought night sounds. These small
interruptions were welcome. We
were testing our compatibility in
those silences. Could we be us, 
without willing the connection into
being? An us without forcing our way past
night sounds. At some point you said
that the mosquitoes must have
forgotten about us. I scratched
my neck and wasn't so sure. 
There will always be mosquitoes.


a shoreline gets
pushed up with
softwoods and sand
the still life foam
frozen in a
drunken scrawl
makes for
a stern breakwater.

walking past
paused moments
of change now
unchaging until
i can see
that others have
travelled along
this path- their
bootmarks and litter
dot the snow.

i curse a little
as i step in
someone elses
footfalls. a
cold wet alarm
surprises me
and my wake leaves
paper thin
floes to float
helplessly on
ruddy water.

trying to pull
up a popcan
ravages a pristine
strip of snow and
as i pack it up
i wonder if i
could put it back?
reset the crust,
retrace my steps,
return to the
i know the
frozen coating
will wet my
other gear.
other bits
of debris are
within reach.
how deep are
they rooted?