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hikinghiker's Message:

If you have a rule, you should be able to explain why. Pet peeves are not a valid reason for rules to exist.

For example, my current word-wall is on my wall an impossible tore each by me. Therefore, I have put a grand total of 20 words up since it involved me getting a ladder or step stool.

I proposed to my co-teacher that I was planning on putting my word wall next year on one of my whiteboards since I have two. Co-teacher says current principal has really weird rules about the word wall and that she requires it to be on a wall alone. Why? No one knows? We can't put it on whiteboards. We can put it on a shared wall. We can't hang words up on hooks so students can take them while we write, which is very common elsewhere.

Meanwhile, I'm debating telling her I either put mine on the board so I can easily add words, or she comes and delivers a ladder every month for me to hang up my words.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
teapot 04-14-2019 05:23 PM

The one thing I like the most about my administrators would be the fact that they trust me to do my job. They seem to look for the positive in what I am doing which is a nice change. The thing I hate the most would be the crazy schedule they came up with just so we could be on teams. The day is broken up into unworkable little chunks and the flow is terrible. They also tend to have many many required little functions that we must attend just to involve the parents. I have a family and a life outside of school, I would like that to be respected.

Good luck with your new position!

SusanTeach 04-14-2019 05:03 PM


1. Please observe what works and what doesn't. Don't reinvent the wheel by making changes that don't need to be made.

2. DON'T punish the whole school because a few teachers are making bad choices. Talk to them and fix it with them. Our school quit allowing jeans because a few teachers were wearing them on days they weren't supposed to.

3. DON'T move veteran teachers unless THEY are on a plan of improvement and just can't handle the grade they're in now. HUGE problem in my school. Our P is moving veteran teachers from grades they prefer because they're good, rather than mentoring the younger teachers who need to get better.

4. Explain why you do what you do. If you're asking teachers to document what they're doing to show growth because county office told you to do it, then tell the teachers. Otherwise it looks like you're just giving busy work.

I wish my current administrator would read this.

LastMinute123 04-14-2019 05:05 AM

Be in classrooms. Not as an evaluator, just as a, "Hey, I'm an adult in this school who knows you, Kids." Leave suggestions for formal observation visits. Notice only positive, supportive, non-evaluative things: Your kids come in so calmly! They're so secure in their routine. / I loved Gio's answer this morning, what a thought process! / Sarah's a tough but to crack, huh? You handled her tantrum so caringly this morning. Do you have it under control, or do you feel like you need more support? / Their writing is really coming along!

I roll my eyes when an evaluator waltzes in twice per year and tries to give me suggestions. They don't know the kids, the routines, the relationships, or the progress. Know the students, know the classrooms, know the teachers because you're there.

daffodils 04-13-2019 05:58 AM

Things my principal did that I liked:

He took car line duty every afternoon. He was outside as kids loaded into cars. Parents tried to get away with less b/c the P was right there!

He walked around the school every morning on arrival, greeting teachers and kids. Teachers were supposed to be standing outside their classroom during arrival (or at least in and out) and he saw everyone. He knew all the kids.

Staff meetings--every Thurs was meeting day after school--some weeks as a team, some as a school. If he didn't have anything critical at the school ones, he just cancelled them and sent an email instead. When we did have post school meetings as a whole school, he provided snacks. But a good range of healthy and treat snacks--fruit, yogurt, cheese and crackers, chips, candy, etc. I loved staff meeting day b/c I got fed!

During teacher appreciation week, he organized with parent volunteers to take the entire school of kids into the gym/auditorium. Parents supervised and he led a sing along. He loved singing and playing his guitar. He'd sing songs the kids knew and they'd all sing along. While he had all the kids, teachers got snacks in the teacher lounge and free time. It was only like 45 mins, but it was so nice! He also got us each a gift each year (not his own money--not sure if PTO or school money or what). He'd have options from a catalogue--typically LLBean. Different style shirts and tote bags and the like with the school logo. We got to wear spirit wear on Fridays with jeans and it was fun to have a shirt in a style we actually liked. Some years I picked out a tote bag. I haven't been there for 5 years, but still have the really sturdy tote bags!

He and the AP were also good about the "have you talked to the teacher about this yet?" and then refusing to discuss an issue with parents until they talked to us first. They'd also email us a heads up!

This was office staff in general, but if a trouble parent came in and was trying to find you after school hours (when they could wander the school freely), they'd try to stall the parent until someone could warn you! So you could hide or leave or just be prepared to deal with the parent. Not being blindsided was great!

Guest 5512 04-12-2019 06:37 PM

Show respect to others by valuing their time:

*be on time;

*show up when you said you will;

*donít require meetings simply because they are on the schedule - have something important to share or cancel the meeting;

*share information consistently by email and reduce the number of meetings; and

*when you add something to a teacherís plate be sure to take something else off.

Assume best intentions.

Allow teachers to say ďnoĒ without fear of reprisal.

Congratulations and good luck!

sbslab 04-12-2019 05:14 PM


Thanks for the opportunity to weigh in on this topic. You've gotten great advice.

My favorite P to work for ALWAYS wrote little notes when staff did something - not just for the big things. We loved that as it made us feel appreciated.

My least favorite P was a BIG procrastinator. For example, we often didn't get schedules for testing week until Sunday night...after our plans were written. For me, his weekly letter was emailed after I had gone to bed on Sundays.

Best of luck to you in your new position.

yellowflowers 04-12-2019 02:44 PM

Deal with discipline issues appropriately. Don't send a student back from the office with candy and stickers.

Trust your staff. Acknowlede their hard work. Validate their concerns. Don't assign ridiculous redundant "busy work" or expect them to serve on oodles of committees. They are stressed enough.

And congratulations!

EatPrayLove 04-12-2019 08:48 AM


A person once explained what a good system looks like. Think of a pyramid--the student body is the wide bottom of it, teachers are in the middle, and principal is at the apex. Teachers are to be of service directly to the students and the principal to be in service to his/her teachers.

Also, my current principal does not think of the whole SYSTEM of the school--how does what one group of teachers do or don't do affect the rest of the team? Is each grade level helping prepare their students for the next grade level? Is Is there an opportunity for vertical alignment & conversations? What protocols can faciltate equitable conversations? Is the principal willing to be a part of courageous conversations? Does s/he create an equitable enivornment and recoginize highly effective teachers and help those that aren't with strategies and suggestions? I want a principal to be smart, kind, and humble. And to treat the teachers like we treat the students: help everyone grow and celebrate what's good and work hard to be equitable.

readerleader 04-12-2019 08:21 AM

Be friendly, not friends - Maintain your professional distance.

Nepotism - Do not hire your friends and do not hire family members (obviously not your family members, but people on your staff who are related.

Favoritism - Remain neutral. (See be friendly, not friends)

Inflexible - Try to see everyone's view point. Understand that there is more than one way to do something.

Back the teachers.

Do not send blanket emails - Address people individually on topics that do not affect the entire staff. For example, being late to work.

Admit you don't know it all.

Change is hard. Don't make massive changes the first year.

Don't be a control freak. Let it go, Let it go...... Other people can be responsible for certain things.

WordFountain 04-12-2019 06:59 AM

Congrats! Thanks for asking...

Treat your staff as professionals - donít micromanage

Respect their time: meetings, ďprojectsĒ, committees, etc

Support for discipline & parents

Be visible! Be a leader by example .. build relationships by leading not by dictating

An acknowledgment can go a long way: treats, lunch, random grab prizes at staff meetings/trainings

iteachk2010 04-12-2019 04:03 AM

Be visible. Our best principal greeted students as they came into the building and did a quick visit in each classroom every morning. He knew every student in our school by the third day. He knew which students needed some extra attention and made a point to spend some time with them. i.e. eat lunch with them, join in the kick ball game... Sadly our students don't know our current principal because she spends most of her time in the office. They rarely see her.

Be a leader-not a dictator. Acknowledge that your faculty/staff are educated people who can think, problem solve, and create by being open and willing to listen to their ideas. When you make decisions that directly affect your faculty/staff, give them opportunities to have input before the final decision is made. Too often the people in the ivory tower are too far removed from the classroom and don't anticipate how decisions affect the teachers and students. They think that if it looks good on paper, then it must be good. Faculty/staff can share from their perspective and can anticipate problems and come up with viable solutions that others who aren't in the trenches just can't.

Be careful about what could be perceived as having favorites. It is a fine line.

Know what is going on in your school.

Be honest. If you can't do something or don't know an answer, say it. It doesn't mean you are weak. Your faculty and staff needs to trust you.

It doesn't hurt to acknowledge your faculty and staff when you see how hard they are working. Drop an encouraging note in the person's mailbox or send an e-mail.

Don't come in and change everything. Find out what works and what doesn't work-keeping in mind that your way or idea might not be the only way.

MaineSub 04-12-2019 03:16 AM

Thanks for the invitation... keep asking--and listening. Administrators who are convinced they are doing the job right probably aren't. Much like a teacher sharing management of the classroom with the students, a good administrator shares the running of the school with the stakeholders.

I love administrators who are in the halls, on the playgrounds, in the cafeteria and in the classrooms and not constantly in the office with the door closed.

I love administrators who see their role as a leader more than an enforcer who manages behavior issues and runs from crisis to crisis.

I love administrators who understand connection--one reason they spend time in the places listed in the second paragraph. They smile a lot and rarely appear rattled.

I love administrators who attempt to be supportive, who ask a lot of questions like "How can I help you...?" and "What do you need from me to...?"

"Hate" is a pretty strong word... but I don't love administrators who don't do what I love!

Linda/OH 04-12-2019 02:02 AM

I agree with so many of the other posts but will second or third:

staff meetings: brief and only when the agenda can't be delivered via email

return calls and emails promptly

have your teachers back when meeting with parents

involve staff in decision making for important changes

All the best on your new endeavor

hikinghiker 04-11-2019 07:05 PM

If you have a rule, you should be able to explain why. Pet peeves are not a valid reason for rules to exist.

For example, my current word-wall is on my wall an impossible tore each by me. Therefore, I have put a grand total of 20 words up since it involved me getting a ladder or step stool.

I proposed to my co-teacher that I was planning on putting my word wall next year on one of my whiteboards since I have two. Co-teacher says current principal has really weird rules about the word wall and that she requires it to be on a wall alone. Why? No one knows? We can't put it on whiteboards. We can put it on a shared wall. We can't hang words up on hooks so students can take them while we write, which is very common elsewhere.

Meanwhile, I'm debating telling her I either put mine on the board so I can easily add words, or she comes and delivers a ladder every month for me to hang up my words.

Zia 04-11-2019 05:56 PM

My P has 35 duties a week. That speaks volumes. Most of the staff has 4 or 5.

IN2OK 04-11-2019 02:38 PM

The best leaders talk to leaders outside their field. Sit on a board of directors for at least one nonprofit, participate in a community leadership program, and literally get your community involved in your school.

Get out of the office, and don't gossip.

Don't be intimidated. My principal is scared of me, as I have more contacts with higher level community figures than she does. Her favorites can literally cheat on the state test and get away, why I look the wrong way at someone and get trouble. Why? She is afraid that I am going say something to a connection of the superintendent, and she will get fired. Sadly, I lived in her community (I am from 800 miles away) for less than two years and have had coffee with more civic and business leaders, and know who's who than she does - she grew up here.

tyrex 04-11-2019 02:09 PM


Don't make blanket statements like "make sure you are on time to duty." Speak directly with the offenders instead.

Be visible.

Don't be cliquey. Give all teachers the info together. Don't allow an inner circle to form that hears things first. This is especially important if you've already been at your school and have friends there.

ConnieWI 04-11-2019 08:38 AM

The first question to ask a parent is:
Have you already discussed this idea/issue with your child's teacher? As soon as you do, I will be glad to discuss it with you!

Staff meetings do no have to be long, drawn-out affairs. Make an agenda and then decide what you can communicate in an email. Leave the idea/issue on the agenda, but at the meeting say, "I am sending you an email to update you on this idea/issue." There are some things such as "dates to remember" that can be communicated via email and save time at staff meetings.

When a teacher needs help with a huge discipline issue, that is your job. Teachers can take care of the small stuff, but the big stuff needs the big guns and that is you.

Good behavior and completed homework are responsibilities. Recess is a privilege. When you don't have good behavior or your homework is not done, privileges are lost. End of conversation!!

anna 04-11-2019 08:03 AM

adding to the good ideas already posted:

make sure never to play favorites

answer email regularly
be visible

remember that teachers have personal lives

the best principal I worked with was 100% honest at all times and had a sense of humor. Everyone was held to the same high standards .

Good luck and congratulations

Keltikmom 04-11-2019 07:10 AM


Remember, the things you didnít like about some teachers you worked still wonít like. Dont let it influence your decision making process.

One P I had micromanaged everything. We finally learned to just agree with him, then do our own thing. It was annoying.

Best Ps have your back, stand up for teachers when dealing with admin, are fair as possible, and transparent. If the DO asks you to do something, and no ones going to like it, tell the staff. Donít pretend itís your idea or try to make it what itís not.

Buy your staff lunch once in a while, drop a note in an inbox.

kahluablast 04-11-2019 05:11 AM

Our new p came in thinking she knew everything with her 5 years of teaching and none of the rest of us knew anything. Her first day she threw out all our rules and replaced them with nothing.

She also is very authoritarian. Great in some instances, but we need to feel like we are a team and have a say.

She is also wishy-washy on some things and changes rules/procedures to please herself without sharing with us.

Office staff have more input that teachers.

We had a p who was an awesome leader. Took control and lead by example. Lead us to the decisions she wanted us to make and let us feel like it was our ideas.

Firm and fair most of the time.

Oh, forgot to say congrats!

GiantSubs 04-11-2019 05:03 AM

I've just accepted the principal job at my school and would love your input on the things you love and the things you hate about administrators! GO!

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