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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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