In our lecture about principles, I was surprised at some of the responsibilities a principle had. I also whole heartedly agreed with some of the points.
In our turn and talk, my partner and I valued the same qualities in a good principal. We both thought that a principal who developed a meaningful relationship with their students, staff and the parents, was key to a positive learning environment and experience for everyone.
Principals having to deal with the broader community other than just the students, parents and staff was something I had never considered. In the Regina Catholic Division, I knew the principals must deal with the Church community as well, but I figured that was the extent of it. I guess because most schools are in residential areas the principals are required to form relationships and deal with conflicts that arise from school traffic (foot and vehicle) and the inconveniences that may cause the residents. I imagine they must field inquiries from the local residents, that may or may not pertain directly to the school.
The third thing I learned about was how the STF recognizes the importance of the principal in setting the tone in the school and community. I think sometimes quality leadership goes unrecognized in the importance it plays in the atmosphere of the work place.
I don’t know that I had an aha moment with this, but I made a couple of connections.
I volunteer at my boy’s school, and the principal there is one of the most caring, passionate teachers, I have ever met. He seems to take his job of creating a calm, inviting school very seriously. Most of the teachers, comment that he is fair, and all the students think he is great. This man knows every one of his 300 plus students by name and many of the parent’s names as well. He lives the ideals of a principal we talked about in lecture. I found that at my volunteer placement for this class, the principal at that school also creates an inviting learning environment. I often see kids at his office, wanting to work at the table in his office. He also seems to know every child by name. It is a pleasure to walk into these schools, you feel very welcomed.
In contrast, I had a placement, where the atmosphere was tense to say the least. In the meetings, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of respect from the teachers. People didn’t seem to matter. I understand that a principal is busy and that not everyone has a fabulous memory for names and that may be the case here. The teachers in this school weren’t willing to help each other, there was a lot of talking behind others backs from the teachers I worked with. It was interesting to me that I was never introduced to the staff, and in fact the principal never seemed to remember who I was or why I was there. It was a little disconcerting after having so many positive experiences with teachers and principals.
How do you handle a work environment that is less than positive from the top leadership?