Help! I can't stand my principal

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by EducateElise, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. EducateElise

    EducateElise Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2007

    My contract with my present elementary school has been renewed but I'm returning with a heavy heart because the principal is a tyrant! She is very domineering and will yell at the teachers in the presence of the students. She shows no respect to us or the parents for that matter.

    On the last week of school we had a misunderstanding and she was in the wrong, yet she didn't apologize. And when I went to her to make amends (but I ask myself why because I wasn't WRONG) she brushed me off.

    How to deal with this woman? And share any other Prinicipal horror stories:(
     
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  3. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    How to deal with her? As little as possible.

    Unforntunately, principals can make life miserable for many people and can give you bad reviews if they don't like you. Something like that can haunt you for years to come. I'd try and stay clear of her as much as you can.

    Personally, I haven't met too many principals that I feel are principal material.
     
  4. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    I started my year out last year with the lady from------. Oh my gosh she was off the wall. Luckily with low enrollment I was transferred out of the building in September :) But my colleagues were stuck, Many put in for transfer at the end of the year. Some walked out and did not return at spring break. Did she care-no, she brought in her buddies that had retired to fill the spots. People like this are in EVERY profession. Avoiding them as much as possible is the way to go. Document everything, if there was a witness, just have them sign the document to keep in a file in case there is a problem on a bad review you can show there had been problems. Try to get a transfer at the end of the year. The principal at the building I transferred to was great!
     
  5. Superteacher81

    Superteacher81 Comrade

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    She sure doesn't sound professional at all! But, you can't help that she is the principal, so I agree with the other posters, steer clear of her as much as possible. Do your thing in the classroom and when you see her just smile and move on.

    My first year teaching, I actually had a principal I didn't care for as a person. I prayed that she would leave and take her clique with her. Well, we had a faculty meeting in Sept. and she announced her resignation!!!!! However, she didn't leave until April. I hung in there and still had a great year!
     
  6. Miss Bliss

    Miss Bliss Companion

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    Jul 10, 2007

    We had an obnoxious, unprofessional principal. He would actually yell at teachers by name over the intercom and swear at our middle schoolers. Anyhow, he was let go because of all the complaints that were put against him and the MANY second chances that he blew. I'll be honest, it took a long time for this man to actually be fired. Document, report, and encourage others to do the same. That's all you can do. An ineffective captain will bring down the ship.

    The key to bearing with her for the time being is go above and beyond your call of duty and be the best teacher you can be. That way you can't be harrassed by her too much.
     
  7. Irissa

    Irissa Cohort

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    Jul 10, 2007

    My first year I had a principal who could win the Worst Principal in the World medal. Out of 3 classes I as the new teacher got the class that was made up of the kids from the homeless shelter. The other 2 classes were magnet classes for the gifted and talented. She spent that entire year hounding me as to why my kids weren't performing as well as the other classes. I just felt like saying well if you had a whole new class every 6 weeks you wouldn't be very far along either. had a total of 52 children move in and out of my class that year only 6 kids that started school in the 1st 2 weeks of school that were there the last week. It was a rough year.

    Anyway, keep a log for your protection of all your interactions with her and do your best to stay out of her way and be as neutral as you can with her.
     
  8. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    I have a principal now who likes to show favoritism, but she is a passive-aggressive person so it seems as though she's nice. I know that sounds crazy, but I'm having a hard time interacting with her as well. Sometimes she looks at people in a scarcastic way when you ask a question and just LOVES to get compliments and praise from her staff. If you don't compliment her and bow down to her, you're not one of her "favorites". But the school is wonderful and the staff is wonderful. I've bonded with alot of my collegues so I'm not ready to leave...yet.;) But I know I can't stay a l-o-n-g time. Anyway, if the school is succeeding and the principal is doing her job to take your school to the top like mine is, then I say stay with thick skin. Since you know this person is just like this and probably won't change, then let it go. I ask God to give me the ability to deal with things I can't change. And I leave it at that. Good luck.:)
     
  9. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I agree with all above advice and I want to add....do not meet with her alone anywhere..not her office or your classroom. If you have a Union rep in the building, make sure you reschedule one-on-one meetings with your principal to include your Union rep. If you have no union, take a fellow teacher or aid in with you. If she enters your room to talk during a prep, step out into the hall with her or make an excuse that you are on your way to make an important phone call to a parent. Don't find yourself alone with her.
     
  10. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    We've gone through some difficult principals and this last year I had to tell a coworker to "ride it out" because sooner or later they leave and it's not worth putting your career on the line because of someone who hates their job. It'll come full circle eventually. I've seen it happen many times over.
     
  11. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I am so sorry- I am sure that it is awful to work in an environment like that. Hopefully you find a place, or a principal you can work with. I just love mine.
     
  12. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I've been through this twice. The 1st time I toughed out the year & didn't return the following year. The 2nd time it was a vice principal that gave me problems. She was a 1st year vp & didn't know how to talk to people. We had several "discussions" that involved the principal. When my principal asked me to switch grades, I told him no as I didn't want to continue working with the vp (which was the 2nd time I had told him that). She wasn't asked back for the next year. On the last day she sent an email out telling us that she wasn't asked back and she was sure that our paths would cross again. Up until then it was just rumor that she hadn't been asked back.
     
  13. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    Happy Birthday, Superteacher81! Hope you had a good one!
     
  14. sdzbgdr

    sdzbgdr Rookie

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    Jul 11, 2007

    There are some principals of low performing schools that are really good to work for. No one knows how to get the kids to do better, but the principals remain steady and everyone is doing their best.
     
  15. MrsPatten

    MrsPatten Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2007

    We're getting a new principal this year and I'm petrified. Our previous principal (who was AWESOME) hired me so this is my first principal change. The man who is our new principal is weird. He retired from a school in the neighboring state. The first time I met him he asked me if I had an equal number of boys and girls in my class--does anyone else think this is weird?
     
  16. ~~Pam~~

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    Jul 11, 2007

    I spent my first two years teaching at a low performing school with a principal that was completely crazy. She was literally bipolar and took medication for her condition. The problem was that she didn't take her meds on a regular basis and her personality was screwed up. She yelled at teachers in front of students and would rant and rave over the intercom. I could go on and on about her, but it won't help you.

    My advice is to do what I did. Stay away from her at all costs!!!! If I was walking down the hall and saw her come around the corner, I would step in someone's classroom and ask questions about something (being new that was easy). I would wait until she passed by on her way to torture some poor unsuspecting soul and would move on. I did not challenge her in public, did not gossip about her w/coworkers, and tried my best to do exactly what she told us to do. When she did stunts that were beyond reasonable comprehension, I reported it. Other teachers also reported her stunts, and God Bless America, she was finally removed from the school this past year on a random day, out of the blue.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2007
  17. 4myclass

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    Wow, you must teach at the same school I do. All the teachers in my school are afraid of the principal. I was told last year, "Don't tell her you like the grade you are teaching.", "Don't let her know that you the other grade-level teacher." , "Don't tell her that you want to be moved to a new grade level." Everyone in my school knows that if the principal thinks that you are happy, she will move you. I don't get that. P.S. I was moved from Pre-K to 5th grade and I have never taught above 1st. Go figure.

    I was told by a teacher that had been at the school for over 14 years that he had survived 8 principals and his advise was to keep your nose clean and lay low. He told me that he was too close to retirement to move schools. P.S. She took away his classroom and put him in the detention room for next year. The whole school was shocked over that one.
    Good luck next year. I will pray for you if you will pray for me.:angel:
     
  18. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Jul 11, 2007

    Sometimes I think those principals who cause great difficulties on campus are really quite unhappy people themselves! And maybe that means she is dissatisfied, and will be leaving soon! (We can always hope!) :-D
     
  19. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Oh man, I can sympathize, empathize, relate, and MORE!! I just got finished with the principal from **** and she somehow lasted for 3 years at my school. Not only did she yell at teachers in front of students, she called you on your classroom phone while you were teaching to yell, she lied and told stories about you to other co-workers, and did everything she could to make you as unhappy as possible. Her first year, she gave Christmas presents to employees of a certain race and no one else. She wrote an observation on me that included information from when she went to my room when I was out on a personal day THAT SHE APPROVED!! I could go on and on about her. Life was horrible...I swear the only thing she did right was hire me! But then I later found out she only hired me because the retiring principal had planned on hiring someone else for my position but the position didn't open up until the old principal was gone.

    My advice: document, document, document! Three of us in the building kept folders and digital photos of things that went on. We kept copies of flyers with grammar errors (that was like an everyday thing!), emails she sent, and other things we intercepted. I kept digital photos of all of the times she called me to yell while I was teaching (our phones show the time a call is made or received). We submitted them to the union president and central administration as necessary.

    Our union fought hard for the past two years to get rid of her. It didn't happen last year because central administration was trying to fire the middle school principal. But this year people couldn't believe how bad things truly got by the end of the year.

    I was non-tenured when she was there, so I didn't speak up to her and I simply avoided her as much as possible. I concentrated on my kids and I leaned on my family and my boyfriend to support me through it all. I had a few co-workers who I'm close with that I trusted, but you have to be careful because some will tattle on you.

    Good luck...things will hopefully get better!
     
  20. Cyndi23

    Cyndi23 Companion

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    Jul 11, 2007

    I disliked my old principals (AND the assistants) and to fix it... I left! Much happier now and I LOVE everyone at my new school!
     
  21. January_Violet

    January_Violet Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2007

    Has anyone written her supervisor about her behavior? If enough letter are written something will be done.

     
  22. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    January, I just had to say that I love your avatar. :D
     
  23. sarsah3

    sarsah3 Rookie

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    Start job searching! Keep your cool...and remember that you are there for the kids. I have been in a similar situation and that is what helped me get through the days. Unfortunately a principal has tons of power and can adversely effect your career. Also, stay clear of any school gossip and watch yourself if you are not tenured. Good Luck and hang in there :)
     
  24. January_Violet

    January_Violet Comrade

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    Thanks @ avi.

    The letters should be anon. though. She would be shooting herself in the foot if she signed her name. Also, she shouldn't start a campaign among the staff...just hear in the windmill. Let someone else start it and never ever admit to another staff member that a "you've" written a letter.

    I would write a new letter every week.

    That's what they did at my school and the principal has been transfered.


     
  25. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    It's always nice to know that you're not alone. My first year of teaching was a disaster. Sad, because it could have been a dream come true if it hadn't have been for the principal. He was a pervert...no kidding. He had a very unsavory history, had been arrested for assualt and got by with it to keep his job. After my very first observation, he sent the AP into my room...unanounced...to watch the class so I could go to his office for the oral review. How embarrassing! That sure set a precident for the kids (teenagers...I never lived it down). When you had a "meeting" with him, he would close the doors and scream and cuss at you. I can't count the time I came home in tears. He was two faced. If you had a problem with a kid, he would tell the parents one thing and you something completely different. He told me he was sticking up for me at review time but really blasted me with unfounded reason. Naturally, I didn't get renewed. Apparently, he had a history of doing this to new teachers. Even though he obviously hated women, he gave some poor male teacher (first year) so much grief that the poor guy left in midyear. People say he never went back to teaching, even though he was quite talented. Fortunately, this evil man was fired from the district.

    After that year, and a year of substituting recovery, I vowed that I would never let a "boss" do that to me again. For the last two years, I taught in a district where the principal was great (a good friend of mine, too) but the super acted like she was principal, but in a very bad way. I got so sick of the underhandedness (and so did about 50% of the staff) that I just tendered my resignation. I hope to get a job this summer, but if I dont', subbing will be better than spending another year with her and her new, drunken principal.
     
  26. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I'm always curious what you put on your resume if you were not renewed for one position and resigned from another. Does anyone question it? What do you say?
     
  27. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    This is a small area. Most districts are aware of the individuals involved and usually don't think anything about it. In otherwords, they already "know" why it wasn't a good situation. I have not been hasseled with it. For the resignation, I just simply say that I was ready to move to a bigger school with a different focus.
     
  28. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    We got a new principal last year. I haven't gotten to know her all that well yet, though. The first principal I worked under had brought the school from a D to A (in FCAT grades) in six years. However, I know that the Lord puts people in other people's lives for a reason. Our principal is a very good person, but I know in order to do my very best, I should seek to know her a little better this coming year.

    I am so sorry for those principals who make their staffs suffer.
     
  29. tennteach15

    tennteach15 New Member

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    TELL ME ABOUT IT!!

    I had a bad situation this past year with a NIGHTMARE principal! She was supposed to come and clean up our school because we had low scores, teachers leaving their classes unattended, on cell phones, and CONSTANTLY in the office. She buddied up with a group of teachers, (not educators), and did not rehire 6 teachers. That's 25% of our staff!! Some of the teachers were up for tenure and now are not allowed to work in our county again, and they were EXCELLENT teachers. She told others within our school system that they were not helping her "float her boat".
    These girls were outstanding teachers. Stayed late evenings, worked on weekends, sponsored clubs and coached, and were passionate about their jobs.
    I would have to write a 10 page report for everyone to fully understand what an awful person she is. She doesn't even like to spend time with her own daughter!
    Its sad when cliques rule the education system.
     
  30. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    My situation with my principal is different. He doesn't scream and yell. What he does is tell who ever is with him exactly what they want to hear, then he turns around and says something totally opposite to the next person. That makes it very hard to know what's going on. My first year teaching I had a playground incident where one child was punished and I found out later that another child was involved. She was punished later, but he didn't see it (not that he needed to). Well he went home and told dad that I punished him not her and he came up and corned me in the in the hall. He was screaming in my face, towering over me and when I looked to the side I saw my principal peaking out of his office. (It was his first year as principal, too.) That was it for me. I knew at that moment that I couldn't trust him to have my back. I just do my thing and try to stay out of issues with him.
     
  31. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Jul 13, 2007

    I have been fortunate. I worked about 25 years before I encountered a Horse's behind in the Principal's office.
    The weird thing is that he does an excellent job. He just treats kids
    and staff badly. He has been called on it by higher ups and even
    me but he is just an oddball.
     
  32. mbfenner

    mbfenner Rookie

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    You've received lots of good advice thus far. I guess I would just steer clear, don't make conversation, do a bit more than I'm supposed to and leave it at that. If it got too ridiculous I would probably look elsewhere for employment. Here in Las Vegas principals are rotated every 5 years. That can be a long time to put up with one, though. Hope things work out.
    http://www.educationbuffet.com
     
  33. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Jul 13, 2007

    and, that is exactly why I have a Type 04-Early Childhood Certificate! I can never teach any grade higher than third in the state of Illinois!

    I think that bumping madness is just that! Utter madness!!
     
  34. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Jul 13, 2007

    It's nice to meet you Elsie, but I am not myself today....

    Your story is the story of my life. It all started with my Dad, who to this day, demeans, patronizes, and makes me the butt of his jokes. I learned to laugh, and think it was funny. Always had domineering, abusive relationships...thought that was the way it supposed to be. Jobs were no different...somebody else just telling me what to do, and then insulting me on top of it.

    Whenever I tried to assert (now THERE's a word for you!) myself, and stand up for myself, I got slapped down, and fired...usually in that order. Friends and family look the other way...everyone says it is probably my fault. employees stay my friend, but they still have a job.

    I think I may be better off working back in customer service, with a head set on my head, getting cursed out because people can't have their way. At least I am still working.

    sigh...

    this is Depression Friday for me! somebody help me out of this funky cloud. I finally ate breakfast, but I still have on my pjs!
     
  35. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Jul 13, 2007

    My wife's dad is your dad. Stay away from the bully. In the long run you will be much healthier and he will be frustrated and perhaps have to examine himself.
     
  36. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    thanks stephen...trouble is, now he's is in his late 80s with alzheimers. I want to visit both my mom and dad in the nursing home. So I have to contend with his lousy jokes, several times an hour...because he does not remember what he says, and keeps repeating himself! I keep changing the subject, change questions, and once in awhile, get bold and challenge him!


    I know, I should just ask him point blank...What do you mean by that? Why do you think it is funny? Why can't you say something nice about me for a change?

    Or like you say, just maybe look him straight in the eye, and not laugh when he insults me. Just like we tell our kids! "I don't like it when you say things like that!"

    sigh

    anybody know any good assertiveness training classes/books websites??
     
  37. Jarenko

    Jarenko Companion

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    My lord, this is all so vicious. I have trouble biting my tongue in the face of authority. Guess I better start practicing now. :(
     
  38. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    yes jarenko...I thought I would be leaving all of this behind in corporate america!

    BTW...are you in northern or southern cal?
     
  39. Jarenko

    Jarenko Companion

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    Jul 13, 2007

    southern :)
     
  40. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    What grade level do you teach? Are you partial to a long commute? Valley or urban life for you?? Glendale is year round. Glendora is nice. I liked Monrovia and Arcadia Ontario area has year round schools too.

    I guess I am just getting up in age, and feel more comfortable in little towns...and not humugous school districts like LAUSD or here in chicago/CPS!
     
  41. Jarenko

    Jarenko Companion

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    Jul 13, 2007

    I'm still in training. :eek: :wow:

    I live in Ventura County. My girlfriend lives in Glendale and told me such horror stories of the schools there that I swore to myself I would not allow myself to ever venture into those halls.

    :eek:
     

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