Sunday, January 15, 2012

7 Top Things Teachers Want from Their Principal

At the first staff meeting in August, I asked the staff at my new school to write a notecard answer to the following question:

"What do you need from your principal?"

The answers ranged from very practical to very theoretical. When put all together, these needs represent a healthy school culture eager to get to know the new guy.

As my own nearly-mid-year review of these ideas, I decided to categorize the answers and self-assess as I go (more about that in a future post). Just like all categorization efforts, this one is highly subjective and open to much interpretation. In any case, I came up with seven main categories:

  • Practical support
  • Technology
  • Special Edcuation
  • Teacher Support
  • Feedback/Availability
  • Communication
  • Miscellaneous Leadership Qualities
I've included, under each category, the specific needs from the notecards. Some caveats: I split some cards as they included several different needs, I've left out several with identifying information, there were some notecards that had a variation of "I don't know."

So, here it is, the evidence that led me to create this top seven list.

Reeding Lessons CC
Practical Support
  • Help to find a pullout space for individual/small group instruction.
  • I need help ordering equipment. I need help getting permission for special events. 
  • Please help to get custodian to build the shelves that were promised & order teaching carts if not done already.
  • Larger budget.
  • Recess duties are shared equally among all paras.
  • Prep time with team teacher.

Technology
  • I need professional development opportunities to grow my understanding/use of technology. 
  • I have no computer. How would I integrate technology without technology? Only one day a week, I don't want to run around the building to find what I need: A computer & projector would save paper (photocopies).
  • I would like to have admin access to download some programs that I want to implement this year. Ex. Voicetalk, iTunes, animoto etc. I can get you a list of these sites if you wish. 
  • I'd love the use of 4 laptops each morning.
  • laptop, probably a bunch of techy stuff
  • I want patience with technology, I'm working on it all the time. 

Special Education
  • Strong LEA rep
  • I need support in getting teachers more invested in the special Ed process. Follow through on IEP timeliness on progress reports, setting parent meetings

Teacher Support
  • Support for my masters work and a consistent sub on the days I miss. 
  • I need continued support in my room for academic and behavioral (both at the same time :). 
  • Larry needs to be the point man on the administrative team and advocate for us.
  • Support for behavioral needs in my classroom.

Feedback/Availability
  • I would like visits (could be informal) and feedback - constructive criticism.
  • I love to see walkthroughs during class time to just connect as to what I'm teaching the children! (certainly not weekly, when you can)
  • Need feedback on my teaching.
  • I need your availability to answer my questions
  • I need you to be available for small questions that can be seemingly unimportant on the larger scale, but can cause me from being able to move forward in my job.
Communication
  • In the past I have worked closely with the principal as social, emotional ok behavioral issues arise with our kids. It would be great to have a discussion on how you would like our collaboration to work.
  • Bridging a gap in regards to part-time communication. 
  • Open, clear communication - like the "Monday Memo."
  • Straight talk
  • You may hear me, but are you listening (not you personally, just anyone I talk to!)
  • I will do my best to check my email and I need face to face communication.

Miscellaneous Leadership Qualities
  • Flexibility, but stability
  • Leadership that is fair for all, keep your sense of humor and always remember the reason we are here - kids!
  • Humor, flexibility, patience
  • Open to suggestions
  • Ideas, time, direction
  • Respect, support
  • Be a leader.

 Sums it all up
  • I need from my principal: support, teaching job next year :) strong communication, respect and honesty

Teachers and staff: What would you add to this list? What do you want from your principal.

Principals: What's missing here? What have staff and teachers asked from you that I have not listed?

Please add your ideas to the comments.



cross posted to Connected Principals