What's ONE Thing You Want From Your Principal?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by YoungTeacherGuy, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    No, I'm not talking about something like a Smart Board or a brand new teacher desk. LOL!

    What I'd like to know is: What's the one thing you wish your principal knew, understood, was able to give you, etc.?

    I'm reflecting on the completion of my third year as VP and I'm curious to hear your responses!

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    The ability to feel 100% comfortable walking into his or her office and saying "I can't control this kid", "I can't control my class", "I don't know what to do with this situation", or even "I can't figure out how to plan for this grade level" and not worry about it ending up on my evaluation.
     
  4. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    To visit my classroom more often. I only see him if he is there for my evaluation or if he is there to discuss an incident. I know you're busy, so just do a quick walk through to see how my students act on average.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    The understanding that I won't run to them about every little thing (or even most of the bigger stuff), so if I do need their ear, it's really important to me.
     
  6. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I'm going to break your rules and give a few:

    A principal who is student-focused first and foremost, one that has a mix of personable-ness (i.e. being able to connect with them on a personal level and joke around at times :)) while maintaining an authoritative and transparent role, and knowing that they are always supportive of helping "you" (teacher) do your absolute best (which goes right back to being student-focused, because teachers who are supported will be better teachers).

    (I should edit in here that I also didn't follow your exact post - this isn't something I wish my current principal was like, because they match all of this extremely well...it's more what I would always want in a principal)
     
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  7. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    I wish my principal understood sped. I also wish that I was treated fairly and asknowledged. I wish that my principal would speak to me without it just being something I did wrong or wants something from me. As you can see, I don't feel very supported by my principal.
     
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  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This. I pretty much have that with my P, and it's great.
     
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  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    The #1 thing I'd like from my principal is to take the time to hire the very best teachers. I think this is the most important job of a P. Mine does a fairly good job at that, but some past Ps would hire their friends or people they knew. Some turned out to be a disaster.
     
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  10. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I would like my P to truly understand the differences in grade levels, but to still be equitable with resources across all grade levels.
     
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  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I only want one thing: trust
    Trust that I know how to teach, I know what I'm doing, that there is a reason for everything I'm doing, trust that if I say I have a big problem with a kid, it really is a problem and I do need help, trust that if a parent or student says something dumb / accuses me of doing she would know not to believe them but come to me first. Luckily my principal trusts us all and gives us the benefit of the doubt.
     
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  12. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Consistency. Develop a behavior system and manage it fairly.
     
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    For me, this is one of things where you'll never make everyone happy. I think the reason a lot of people like my principal is because he doesn't visit classrooms very often. He seems to have a good fan base because "he leaves us alone" (quote from several teachers at my site).
     
  14. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    That probably depends on many of the elements listed above, too. Those with administrators who have that sense of trust, they'll want to have stop by more often. Those who have administrators who don't show that trust as much or don't always show that they're there to back the teacher up, might be more afraid that them seeing anything than a perfect lesson happening might be misconstrued.
     
  15. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    The thing about visiting classrooms is that you need to do it often enough and in such away that it is viewed as normal and supportive. One thing I plan to do is ask teachers to let me know when they are teaching a particularly favorite lesson that shows them at their best.
     
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  16. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I wish that both of our admins were better disciplinarians. Both our P and AP are very close with the counselors at my school and seem to take the "skittles and hugs" approach to severe behavior. I wish there was a separation between what the counselors/psychs do (which could be more like "just talking") and what the admins do with severe behavior students. Behavior has gotten out of control at my school in the past year and I think some real and tough consequences could help 90% of it. A lot of our students do have very rough home lives and I feel that those of us that still have high expectations for behavior are painted as not being empathetic or not caring about the "whole child." While I understand that our students are dealing with a lot, I don't think we're doing them any favors by letting them continuously get away with severe behavior. I worry about setting them up to be successful adults.
     
  17. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Reading through the replies, I realize how blessed I am. It's hard for me to pick anything I want, but I guess I wish mine was a little more consistent in the discipline department. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't tolerate much and has sent plenty of kids packing to the alternative school that just couldn't behave in our school (severe behavior issues), but there is a much more lax atmosphere in the school since he and our VP took over from the previous admins.

    But honestly? I couldn't have a better P. He respects me, values me, trusts me, and will do whatever it takes to help me. He's always kind and courteous to me, an frequently tells me that I'm doing a great job. One day he even told me he wished he could clone me, LOL! So, it's hard to complain about a P like that.

    I guess the other thing I want from him is for him to retire a year after I do! :)
     
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  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    This describes our principal--substitute the "me" with "us". He thanks the entire staff loudly and publicly every chance he gets. He is the definition of supportive and I was hoping to be able to work with him for at least 1 or 2 more years (principals here get moved about every 4-6 years). However, we found out yesterday that, after 3 years with us, he'll be leaving at the end of the school year. It's a promotion for him, but a huge loss for us.
     
  19. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    What I want - a principal who does not play favorites with the staff.
     
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  20. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I wish principals would be less of an evaluator and more of a team leader. In college, teachers have already been tested to see if they can teach. When evaluated, most teachers pass the evaluation--that's not going to suddenly change. The attitude of a classroom monitoring should be to become familiar with the teacher's classroom decorum and methods and to discuss (not dictate) suggestions for improvement if needed. The principal should be a support to the goal of educating the students and not an adversary as to whether or not a teacher keeps the job.
     
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  21. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The one thing I want from ALL of my administration is transparency. I hate being kept in the dark and then being surprised.
     
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  22. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    More personality.
     
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  23. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I have the best admin, but her greatest strength is her greatest weakness. She only sees the good in people. Because of this, some teachers slack off and she refuses to hold them accountable for much. I desperately wish she had higher expectations and realized that just because kids are sitting down, doesn't mean they're actually doing much. I (and many others) go above and beyond in and outside of class. It's making us think we shouldn't really do that extra work because the basics are not even expected. Even more stressful is the expectation that grade levels perform on the test, when realistically this is a TEAM effort.
     
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  24. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Good luck with this one, Sarge. I know you have good intentions, but once you step into an admin role-- you'll soon notice that you're pulled in a hundred different directions at the same time!
     
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  25. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    This is definitely tough. Ours is absolutely wonderful, and she has stated many times that she wants to be in each of our classrooms every single day, but as a principal for a large school with no supportive admin yet (thankfully she gets part of one next year!), she's just got tons on her plate. Without understanding another's perspective, I don't think it's fair to make judgement, as if I was just going off of the fact that I have only had a few visits in the classroom, and say that it wasn't supporting me enough, that's not really honoring what else is having to happen, and not honoring everything else that is being done to support me. It seems similar to the many times teachers complain about parents complaining for something that we just can't get to right away because of how much we're doing on a daily basis. Once a parent understands the perspective better, most would then not have that same negative judgement. Sometimes though, without that perspective, those assumptions are bound to happen.
    (Note, Sarge, that I'm not necessarily trying to speak to you, but just in general. I don't know the specific position your principal is in or what they have on their plate, so like I said, I don't want to throw any positive/negative judgement towards that situation)
     
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  26. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I will say, both my P and AP visit my classroom daily. It might be a 30 second good morning first thing in the morning, but the students see them daily. I'm sure their plates are full, and both of them work far more than their contracted hours, but I really appreciate that they really know my classroom and my style. It goes far when a parent complains about something, and they have enough knowledge to solidly support me.
     
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  27. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Include staff in the decision making process. This was, also, number one in a teacher survey while back in terms of job satisfaction. What drives many teachers nuts is having no input into things they are held responsible for.
     
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  28. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    I wish my Principal recognized the Related Arts Teachers as being just as important. We sit through so many faculty meetings discussing "their" data of reading and math. Why can't we celebrate data or achievements from PE, Art and Music?

    I completed an action research study this year for my Master's Degree. I invited parents, teachers and my principal to my classroom to hear the results. I set up chairs and had cookies and lemonade. My presentation was less than 15 minutes long. When I invited my Principal, she said she couldn't come because she had a Building Leadership Team Meeting and I could talk to her about it when I checked out for the year. When I checked out, she spent two minutes with me and my research never came up in the conversation.

    I wish that I had a Principal that felt that my data was valuable enough for her to miss 10 minutes of a meeting or better yet to ask the entire BLT to come. I've certainly had to sit through listening to data from the BLT that didn't apply to me when I could have been doing something more relevant.
     
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  29. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    It's so frustrating when people in an administrative position seem to forget what it's like to be a classroom teacher. They make everything sound so easy. "Just do this in the morning," or "Spend a few minutes every day doing this." They don't realize that we're told to do an insane amount of things, and there is no possible way we can be the perfect teacher they expect us to be.

    Another thing I would like is recognition/validation. My principal was in my room once this year for my 20 minute observation. She has no idea what I do. That's kind of nice, because I can just do my own thing, and be left alone. But she tends to only recognize people that do "big" things: projects, units, etc. I don't need public recognition, but just some sort of validation that my boss believes the work I'm doing is effective and valuable.
     
  30. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Accountability for myself and my colleagues. Passive aggressiveness and "have you considered trying...?" nonsense drives me nuts. If someone isn't doing their job, call them out. Those who are will appreciate it.
     
  31. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    OK, not a single thing, but a single mind-set. I want my principal to be honest in all dealings and consistent in application of rules and culture. I hate it when there is one set of rules for some people and a different set of rules for others, and let's be clear, I am talking about people doing the same job type with the same expectations of proficiency. Please don't bend the rules for cronies and long time friends. Once you have this ideal mind-set, the best people will be hired for the jobs, not the closest friend, or friend of a friend. Decisions on terminations will be based on honest evaluations, instead of having evaluations manufactured to support the action that is about to take place. Support your staff, but make sure you support them equally across the board. Without this culture, how can a school staff feel safe and appreciated?
     
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  32. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Know who your staff are....as professionals first. And personally. Don't blow sunshine up skirts... Be honest. Build people up. And call out the bs in a professional way. My P does this.
     
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  33. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I wish that my principal understood that teachers are individuals, and classes have different mixes. We're expected to do the exact same thing as our teammates, to decorate our rooms the same, etc. I have a different style from my teammates, and I have a different group of kids. If I'm a day behind or ahead of my neighbor, trust that we both know what we're doing.
     
  34. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    A principal who will stand up against district admin for what is best for the school.
     
  35. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    I wish my P was stronger on discipline. Teachers, students and fellow admin do what they want and disregard the P's words all day every day. It's disheartening to see people just doing what they want without any regard to anything else - fellow teachers/teammates, the school and students
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  36. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Transparency

    I know there are things a classroom teacher does not need to know, but if they know things about students in your room, I think teachers need to know as well.
     

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