20 Things Your School Principal Wish You Knew

A principal stands outside his school

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Principals and teachers must have an effective working relationship for a school to be successful. Teachers must understand the role of the principal. Every principal is different, but most genuinely want to work with teachers to maximize the overall learning taking place within each classroom. Teachers must have a clear understanding of their principal’s expectations.

This understanding has to be both general and specific. Specific facts about principals are individualized and are limited to the unique qualities of a single principal. As a teacher, you have to get to know your own principal to get a decent idea of what they are looking for. General facts about principals encompass the profession as a whole. They are true characteristics of virtually every principal because the job description is generally the same with subtle changes.

Teachers should embrace these general and specific facts about their principal. Having this understanding will lead to greater respect and appreciation for your principal. It will foster a cooperative relationship that will benefit everyone in the school including the students whom we are charged to teach.

20. Principals Were Teachers Themselves Once

Principals were teachers and/or coaches themselves. We always have that experience on which we can fall back. We relate to teachers because we have been there. We understand how hard your job is, and we respect what you do.

19. It's Not Personal

Principals have to prioritize. We are not ignoring you if we cannot immediately help you. We are responsible for every teacher and student in the building. We must evaluate each situation and decide whether it can wait a bit or whether it requires immediate attention.

18. Stress Affects Us, Too

Principals get stressed out. Almost everything we deal with is negative in nature. It can wear on us at times. We are usually adept at hiding the stress, but there are times when things build-up to the point where you can tell.

17. We Do What Seems Best, Based on the Information Available

Principals must make difficult decisions. Decision making is a crucial component of our job. We have to do what we believe is best for our students. We agonize over the toughest decisions making sure they are well thought out before being finalized.

16. The Words Thank You Mean a Lot

Principals appreciate it when you tell us thank you. We like to know when you think we are doing a decent job. Knowing that you genuinely appreciate what we do makes it easier for us to do our jobs.

15. We Want to Hear Your Opinion

Principals welcome your feedback. We are continuously looking for ways to improve. We value your perspective. Your feedback can spur us to make significant improvements. We want you to be comfortable enough with us that you can offer suggestions with a take it or leave it to approach.

14. We Appreciate Individuality

Principals understand individual dynamics. We are the only ones in the building that have a true idea of what goes on in each classroom through observations and evaluations. We embrace different teaching styles and respect individual differences which have proven to be effective.

13. We Want to See Passion

Principals loathe those who appear to be slackers and refuse to put in the time necessary to be effective. We want all of our teachers to be hard workers who spend extra time in their classrooms. We want teachers who realize that prep time is just as valuable as the time we actually spend teaching.

12. We Want You to Be Your Best Self

Principals want to help you improve as a teacher. We will offer constant constructive criticism. We will challenge you to improve in areas in which you are weak. We will offer you suggestions. We will play devil’s advocate at times. We will encourage you to search continuously for improved ways to teach your content.

11. Our Time is Limited

Principals do not have a planning period. We do more than what you realize. We have our hands in just about every facet of the school. There are a lot of reports and paperwork that we must complete. We deal with students, parents, teachers, and pretty much anyone who walks through the doors. Our job is demanding, but we find a way to get it done.

10. We Are Your Boss

Principals expect to follow through. If we ask you to do something, we expect it to be done. In fact, we expect you to go above and beyond what we have asked. We want you to take ownership of the process, so putting your own spin on a task will impress us as long as you have met our basic requirements.

9. We Are Human

Principals make mistakes. We are not perfect. We deal with so much that we will occasionally slip. It is okay to correct us when we are wrong. We want to be held accountable. Accountability is a two-way street and we welcome constructive criticism so long as it is done professionally.

8. We Are a Mirror of Your Performance

Principals love it when you make us look good. Great teachers are a reflection of us, and likewise, bad teachers are a reflection of us. We revel in delight when we hear parents and students offering praise about you. It provides us reassurance that you are a capable teacher doing an effective job.

7. We Trust the Data

Principals use data to make critical decisions. Data-driven decision making is a critical component of being a principal. We evaluate data on an almost daily basis. Standardized test scores, district-level assessments, report cards, and discipline referrals provide us with valuable insight that we use to make many key decisions.

6. We Expect Professionalism

Principals expect you to be professional at all times. We expect you to adhere to reporting times, keep up with grades, dress appropriately, use appropriate language and submit paperwork in a timely manner. These are just a few of the basic generalized requirements that we expect every teacher to follow without any incidents.

5. No One Enjoys Disciplining Students

Principals want teachers who handle the bulk of their own discipline problems. It makes our job more difficult and puts us on alert when you continuously refer students to the office. It tells us that you have a classroom management issue and that your students do not respect you.

4. The Job is Our Life

Principals attend most extra-curricular activities and do not get the entire summer vacation. We spend an inordinate amount of time away from our family. We are often one of the first to arrive and the last to leave. We spend the entire summer making improvements and transitioning to the next school year. A lot of our most prominent work occurs when no one else is in the building.

3. We Want to Trust You

Principals have a hard time delegating because we like to be in total control. We often control freaks by nature. We appreciate teachers who think similarly to us. We also appreciate teachers willing to take on difficult projects and who prove that we can trust them by doing an outstanding job.

2. Variety is the Spice of Life

Principals never want things to get stale. We try to create new programs and test new policies each year. We continuously try to find new ways to motivate students, parents, and teachers. We do not want the school to be boring for anyone. We understand that there is always something better, and we strive to make substantial improvements on a yearly basis.

1. We Want the Best for Everyone

Principals want every teacher and student to be successful. We want to provide our students with the best teachers who will make the biggest difference. At the same time, we understand that being a great teacher is a process. We want to cultivate that process allowing our teachers the necessary time to become great while trying to provide our students with a quality education throughout the entire process.

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Your Citation
Meador, Derrick. "20 Things Your School Principal Wish You Knew." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/facts-about-principals-every-teacher-should-know-3194354. Meador, Derrick. (2020, August 26). 20 Things Your School Principal Wish You Knew. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/facts-about-principals-every-teacher-should-know-3194354 Meador, Derrick. "20 Things Your School Principal Wish You Knew." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/facts-about-principals-every-teacher-should-know-3194354 (accessed March 22, 2023).