The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

#ISTE2015 attendees, principals need you

Inspired by the sessions I have attended, the teachers I have spoken with, and a post by my friend Pernille Ripp calling on me not to give up on “those” teachers, I sit down to write today with two purposes.

To open, as a principal, I want to foster an environment where professionals feel valued and can grow their skills. I want to eliminate roadblocks so that everyone has the opportunity to do their best work. We work in a system where the state and federal government pass along mandates for our schools. As a principal, I have to ensure we comply with these policies to keep our doors open. I know there is far more to our work than standardized scores and procedures to take attendance. My role requires me to strike a balance, ensuring we follow the law, but also that we have a place where you can be creative and do purposeful work you find engaging.

The above paragraph doesn’t make me special, my views as a principal are common. As administrators, we don’t get up in the morning thinking “how can I stifle my students and staff.” We don’t want you to be frustrated. Sometimes there’s a shortage of resources. Sometimes we’re just not clear on what you’d like to do.

This transitions well into my second point, and that is really more a question than a statement. As I have reflected on the sessions and conversations I have been having, I find myself wondering “what do you want from me?” I wish there were an open forum where teachers could simply speak their minds, giving a national perspective on what teachers, who are doing incredible work, want to see from their administrators. Send me a tweet, respond here, or say something when you pass me on the way to a session.

As a principal, here’s what we need from you. If you feel supported, tell us you feel supported. If you are frustrated but understand, tell us you are frustrated but understand. If we clearly don’t understand your vision of where you want to go, help us understand. Don’t assume that others are telling us we’re doing well, or that we need to do something differently. Speak up!

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