What would it be like to be a Principal?

Photo by Mart Production

Teachers might feel the relief as the final, end of year report is written. Stage leaders and Head Teachers might breathe easier after proofreading those reports, ready for distribution. But when might the Principal get to take a breath and feel some sense of release?

Yes, the Principal gets paid the ‘big $’, but the Principal is required to answer the big questions, sign off on the big reports and manage the school staff and the school community. There may be Principal’s meetings and conferences that offer a brief respite from school, unfortunately, there is always that pending issue communicated by the ever-present mobile phone.

Mobile phones can be the Principal’s line out (of that meeting) or call in from school.

The work of Principals is getting more complex and difficult. If you drew a diagram to describe the responsibilities and work of principals, it would look something like this:

The teacher has some responsibilities. The Assistant Principal/Head Teacher has some extra responsibilities, and you can see in this crude illustration that the Principal is responsible for the width and breadth of all things related to the school.

The fine art of delegation is a skill that most non-teaching Principals master early in their career. The rare breed of teaching Principals do not have Executive Teachers or a team of Front Office staff. Teaching Principals can be observed excelling in the dual role of teaching and leading the school and school community. This complexity of this work is that for non-teaching Principals there is little space between the classroom and the office.

It is hard to find a measure that would accurately highlight the same, but different work of a Principal. If salary outcome was the measure, it would show that Teaching Principals are awarded the equivalent salary as a Deputy Principal.

It should be remembered that most Principals started their career in the classroom. It is often said that ‘good’ Principals do not forget their time in the classroom.

Who would like to be a Principal?