Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Go To The Principal's Office

What was your principal like in high school? Middle school? Elementary school? Was this person approachable? Did you see him or her out in the building all the time? Or did he or she stay in the office?

Were you scared of "The Principal's Office"? 

Maybe the ultimate revenge would be to become a principal yourself someday. Here are some facts about the job:

To become a school principal, you would need several years' experience teaching, as well as a Masters degree or possibly a Doctorate (PhD.) This degree might be in education, business administration, education administration, or a similar field. Your coursework would include topics such as school law, accounting, community relations, ethics, curriculum development (planning what courses are offered at which levels), psychology, and statistics.

You would need to be strong in these categories:

  • Time management
  • Being outgoing and talkative
  • Good at problem-solving/finding creative solutions
  • Enjoy interacting with a wide variety of people
  • Communicate well
  • Good listening skills
  • Patience!
  • Good at making a thoughtful decision
  • Recognizing and using your staff's strengths
  • Decision making
  • Leadership
  • Budgeting
  • Understanding the issues of teaching
  • Community awareness
  • Cultural awareness

Being a principal means you would be in charge of all staff, including regular and Special Education teachers and aides, maintenance and groundskeepers, and kitchen staff. You would need to manage the budget for the building, overseeing money spent on supplies, books, and salaries. You would make decisions as to who to hire to work in the building. You would need to be sure your school meets goals set by your school district such as test scores. You would need to be sure your building was safe for all the people who use it, whether that meant structural safety, handling possible intruders, emergencies such as weather issues, and you would deal with repairs that need to be done. You would be responsible as the authority figure for running the before and after school programs in elementary school, and any after-school activities.


You would be the person to whom a teacher would look for guidance with students who have discipline problems, and how to deal with the parents of all students.

Principals usually are required to attend further educational courses throughout their careers, as are teachers; in fact, some principals will step in to teach when a regular teacher is out. They also attend many meetings with other principals, superintendents of schools, and community leaders. They may collaborate with schools out of their districts to share ideas and ways of doing things. Salary for a principal typically starts at about $80,000 a year.

If you're interested in teaching and enjoy working with a variety of different people, maybe you'll be a school principal one day.


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