What you wish your principal knew....

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Joyful!, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Sep 22, 2009

    I am in the process of being hired to be the principal at an alternative high school. (I have experience as principal in the private sector). Given that I will be starting after school has started and the student population will be something outside my experiences, I could use some input. What do you wish your principal knew about you, your school and your students? How would you respond to a new principal at this point in the school year? What would you appreciate in the way of development of a relationship, and what would you find detrimental in the development of a relationship? Any insight would be useful to me. Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Sep 22, 2009

    I teach in an adult school connected to the high school but eat in their lounge and get to hear all the complaints because I am the fairly neutral third party. The school went through 4 principals in 10 years, mostly due to the district trying to break up the school's push to be charter so I have seen a variety come and go.

    So, major things I have heard are:

    -They want the principal to be out and about as much as possible, supervising at lunch, dismissal, etc. so they get a feel for the problems (or strengths).

    -They don't want a principal who spends the majority of his/her time in their office.

    -They want a principal who visits classrooms regularly, not just at evaluation time or when there are problems.

    -They want a principal who is a good intermediary with parents but who doesn't always side with parents and override staff decisions.

    -They want a principal who listens to his/her staff before making decisions, especially when those decisions are going to affect the work of others.

    -They want a principal who respects and acknowledges classified staff, and doesn't give the impression they are less important than certificated staff.

    -They want a principal who spends some time getting to know the school and its needs before making sweeping changes that meet her own philosophies more than the needs of the school.

    -They want a principal who is organized, does reports, etc. on time and therefore doesn't have constant fire drills to get stuff done.

    -They want a principal who does her own share of the work and doesn't delegate everything, including supervising sporting events.

    -They want a principal who is fair and doesn't have favorite groups who get the good assignments and all the breaks.

    -They want a principal who thinks sports and extracurricular activities are important but don't let them run the school.

    -They want a principal who is consistent in enforcing rules for staff and kids.

    -They want a communication who communicates well with staff and parents.

    -They want a principal who takes responsibility if things go wrong, doesn't blame others, and has the staff's back, if needed.

    -They want a principal who forms relationships with staff.

    Hope this helps,
    Good luck!
     
  4. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    Sep 22, 2009

    The first thing that pops into my mind (because my principal is really lacking in this department) is I want a principal who has my back when I make a decision regarding a student or parent. I look like an idiot when I make a decision and then my principal overrides it with her own decision. Not cool.

    Also, I want my principal to respect me and my ideas and treat me as an equal.

    Too bad there isn't a magic wand that would create the perfect principal...
     
  5. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Sep 22, 2009

    That about says it all. In other words, they want a caring, compassionate, eager team leader.
     
  6. Allysundrop

    Allysundrop Rookie

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    Sep 22, 2009

    It would be great if you could try to learn the teachers' names as soon as possible. I don't know how many teachers you will have, but, speaking from experience, it's great if the principal actually knows names.
     
  7. prek176

    prek176 Companion

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    Sep 22, 2009

    I agree with the postings here but will add....don't come in and change a bunch of things that have been in place for possibly years until and unless you observe how things work and ask staff what they think. The last 2 principals did this and moral has been very low ever since. (One lasted only 2 yrs and didn't get his contract renewed...so his plans fell by the wayside and the current principal is beginning her 2nd year. Again, a lot of new programs but she probably won't be around long either. All this is hard on the staff.)
     
  8. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Sep 22, 2009

    Thanks. This is a lot of good input. I will take it to heart, as well as any posts after mine. My current situation I preceded all of the staff so it was different. This time, I am walking in as the newbie. I agree that change should always be gradual--that is true if you are new or not. I hope that if in a year's time someone else were to post this question, someone on my staff would say my principal does all of the above. I hope they would know that I appreciated them and the sacrifice it takes to be a teacher. Thanks again.
     
  9. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Sep 22, 2009

    An ideal Principal:)should have the following. It's impossible though, unless he/she was an :angel:

    P...Polite, people-oriented, patient, professional, positive
    R...Relaxed, real, respectful
    I...Interesting, impressive, informative
    N...Nice, neat, nutty;:Da little
    C...Caring, compassionate, calm, cultured, considerate, cheerful
    I...Influencial, intelligent, innovative
    P...Passionate, peacemaker, planner
    A...Adventurous, an advocate, awesome, affectionate
    L...Loving, laughs a lot, listener, loyal leader

    Good luck & keep us posted,
    Rebel1
     
  10. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Sep 23, 2009

    I'm looking for the like button! Scmom rocks! I wish that was posted in every principals requirements to be a principal!
     
  11. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Why thank you!
     
  12. gr8_life

    gr8_life Companion

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    Sep 23, 2009

    I love the ideas presented here. In addition, I would add:

    someone who gets things done in a timely manner

    someone who respects my time

    someone who has a backbone

    someone who has actually taught more than a couple years

    good personal qualities:

    honest

    integrity

    humor

    intelligent
     
  13. prek176

    prek176 Companion

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    Sep 24, 2009

    I also agree with the part about having taught more than a couple years. Principal before last had only taught a couple years in Berkley. It was really hard to take criticism/suggestions from someone with virtually no experience in the classroom/multiple grades.
     
  14. MrsTchrAB

    MrsTchrAB Rookie

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    Sep 26, 2009

    I agree with SCMom and Gr8 Life!!!

    They pretty much summarized it for me...

    Good Luck!
     
  15. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Sep 27, 2009

    Ditto to all of this and especially to the ones about really knowing what it is like to be behind the teacher's desk. My first principal was really clueless as to what it really meant to be a teacher. Although, her observations/evals of me were good, they were of absolutely no use to me....
     
  16. Groovy

    Groovy Companion

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    Sep 27, 2009

    LOL

    Me too.
     
  17. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Sep 29, 2009

    Definately a principal should have taught for a long time and taught a variety of grade levels and subjects. They should walk the walk - not just talk to the talk. They need to be someone who does what is right even when it isn't easy. They need to treat all members of staff as important. Act like you are above your staff once b/c you make a bigger pay check and they won't forget. And don't just talk about communication - be a good listener. Listen to your staff's ideas - especially when they disagree with you - or they will just stop telling you what they think and suddenly you will have no idea what is going on in your building.
     
  18. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    Oct 4, 2009

    I didn't get a chance to read the above response so I don't know if this was mentioned, but constantancy.

    There's is nothing I hate more than when I come out from a meeting that lasted an hour in which my peers and I get blasted for being "too lenient" on cell phone usage...and then when I confiscate a phone, nothing (none of the "supposed" consequences) from the adminstration is done about it. The kids know when their adminstrators are weak, and it makes our lives much, much harder.

    And I'd like someone who isn't afraid to tell it like it is. I'm not saying be a jerk, but I hate when nothing is done about something that's serious simply because "we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings."
     

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