13 Things Every Teacher Wishes Their Principal Knew
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13 Things Every Teacher Wishes Their Principal Knew

Written by 20 October 2011

Principals, pull up a chair: Here's what your teachers may or may not be telling you.  Teachers, get ready to comment and add to the following list: This is your chance to let your voice be heard.

Using feedback and ideas from teacher friends, family members, and my Personal Learning Network (PLN), I've compiled the following list:

Teachers wish their Principals knew...

  1. How much time, effort, and 'free' extra work we do for the school.
  2. That school scores and standardized testing are not the only measure of a school's quality.
  3. How to provide fun, up-to-date training and professional development learning opportunities for everyone on the staff.
  4. That observations with formative feedback go a long way in helping us meet your expectations.
  5. How important it is to a school's success to help parents feel welcome and comfortable.
  6. The value of social media in education...especially all of the 21st century learning opportunities it presents for our students.
  7. That we NEED to always feel appreciated.
  8. The difference in appropriate teaching styles for each age group...early childhood, middle school, and high school teachers each have to approach their students uniquely.
  9. How valuable global connections are... which is exactly why all Principals should encourage us to build Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) to continue sharing, learning and collaborating with other educators around the world.
  10. The unbelievable amount of FREE resources and tools that are available online... but we're not able to access them in class due to blockage or some other restriction.
  11. Classroom management is our job, not yours. When you come into our classroom and see a child not following directions, please do not intervene. It undermines our authority.
  12. Students behave way better when you're around.  Please remember this when we come to you with a discipline problem. We're with the kids day in and day out, so we've got a better idea of how they really behave.
  13. They should not to make a habit of calling all-faculty meetings to communicate information that could have been shared via email.

I could keep adding on and on to my list... but where's the fun in that?  I'd rather hear what YOU think. 

So tell me ...

What would you add to this list?   What do you wish your Principal knew?

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13 Things Every Teacher Wishes Their Principal Knew


  • Marcy said:

    Principals need to understand the importance of IEPs and encourage all staff to honor and respect IEPs. When an administrator isn’t completely on board with the implementation of IEPs, then why should his or her staff be. They need to remember that these are legal binding documents and the implications of not following the IEP can be more than they would want to chew.

  • Linda said:

    Principals need to have a vision for their building. They need to believe in their vision so all staff are inspired to get on board.

  • Al Smith said:

    Principals need to make a respectable effort to lead by showing not telling. When a new paradigm arises like blogging which has huge educational impact they should learn and engage it with their faculty and parents. Twitter etc. no point having Indians more aware than chiefs. Their pedagogic ally sound modeling and messaging can have multiple benefits.
    Al Smith recently posted..One response to new BC Ed PlanMy Profile

  • Kim said:

    Principals need to know that technology is not one more thing but can help achieve some of the things other initiatives are trying to achieve. Letting some teachers continually put off learning to integrate technology themselves hurts their students. Having the instructional technology teacher do all the technology infused lessons for teachers makes those lessons disconnected to the rest of what the students are learning. The technology coach and classroom teacher should work together with the teacher doing most of the teaching because she knows the students, what came before the current lesson, and what comes after the lesson. In addition, using software with help and learning it may carry over to lessons in the classroom.
    Kim recently posted..Wiffiti – Cool New Toy for TweetersMy Profile

  • michelle said:

    #14 . The best principles believe in their teachers and have their backs.


    #15. Please bring bagels to the faculty meetings. Food takes the edge off.
    michelle recently posted..Places to visit.My Profile

  • Kurtis said:

    As a past principal, I would also add trust your teachers. Love Jay McTighe’s thought of principals building the banks of the river but then letting the river flow. The teachers are the experts – build the structures to let teachers utilize their expertise.

  • Lisa Dabbs said:

    Just wrote a recent post on this same subject! http://www.edutopia.org/blog/new-teacher-principal-support-lisa-dabbs
    I must add that our newbies in #ntchat are also asking for mentorship and genuine support for their work, long before the observation time.
    Thanks for sharing this post!

  • Nita Lent said:

    I want him to know I am capable and don’t need my whole day planned out for me. I don’t need to be on the same page as a fellow team mate. I really do know what is good for kids.

    Stop telling me one thing and then doing something else. You must be honest and credible.

    Don’t blame the higher ups for YOUR policies and requirements.

    Stop being nasty to everyone and then act hurt when people rebel and don’t support you. Support is a two way street.

  • Jill said:

    Please understand that some teachers are experts at “snowing” principals when they are observed or are engaged in discussions about their teaching. Listen to others who are raising concerns…teachers see what colleagues do when you aren’t around. If teachers aren’t doing things that are in the best interest of kids, it is YOUR job to DO something about it. Otherwise, the hardworking, dedicated teachers begin to resent the administration for letting the slackers slide. This is a bigger deal than principals realize!

  • Stand Tall Steve said:

    Your article is “Spot On”. So often us as principals don’t know what we don’t know. It is up to us to seek out “Ah Ha” moments. Once we have the new way of thinking, put it into practice. It’s one think to know what we don’t know. It is another thing to do what we know. Thank you for the article.

  • Wayne said:

    Take the time to really get to know your teachers. They possess a wide range of skills, knowledge and experiences that are far beyond the regular cirruculum. Find out what motivates them, their level of commitment and their degree of confidence. These aspects are vital to growing truly inspired teachers.

    Wayne Reply:

    Curriculum. Sorry.