“Teachers, you cannot afford to have an adversarial relationship with your principal. You cannot even afford a principal who is an "agent of benevolent neglect." You need an administrator who actively supports you, your projects, and your students.”
I found this out to be so true when I became more involved in my school. I think one of the major keys is to get involved. Throughout the years I heard so many teachers complain about the administration not understanding them or making decisions about them so I decided I needed to have a different perspective. I volunteered to be on some committees and started to work towards taking a leadership role. It did help that I had a principal who believed in me and encouraged me to do this but I needed to have the desire along with it in order to gain a real perspective. I think in order to truly make a difference and not just be whiny, I needed to be better involved. I don’t mean more involved because I think people can be involved in many things but still not have the right perspective. Instead I wanted to be better involved so I volunteered to be on committees that influence the decision making process.
Being on these committees helped me see problems from different angles and how they affected different departments at the same school. Suddenly problems didn’t just affect me but others too and I hadn’t thought about how it would. Discussing these problems helped me be more tolerant and patient when decisions didn’t go my way. I also saw that the principal would have to make hard decisions where he couldn’t please everyone so he had to make the best decision that would positively affect the most people. This was really hard to explain to others and people in my department would get frustrated with me because they felt I wasn’t advocating for my department enough.
I also have some suggestions to the ones Doug mentioned.
1. Take an active part on decision influencing committees. Be open minded that decisions can affect all departments in the school differently.
2. Talk to other departments when preparing to make a proposal to your principal. Be prepared for obstacles that might affect other departments and come up with a solution for them. During your proposal, acknowledge these obstacles and potential solutions.
3. Know your strengths and be a resource for your principal in your area of expertise. Offer to be available if any questions or concerns come up about your department or field of experience.
4. Ask your principal for advice. Tell your principal about your concerns without whining. Ask him if he knows where you can get more answers. There might be a simple solution that another department has already used or knows about.
5. Collaborate with others. Discuss solutions that might benefit more than just your department. When discussions begin, you can show how your solution can benefit the most people.
6. Support your principal when he makes the final decision. Don’t talk behind his back or whine that you didn’t have any part in the decision making process. This will come back to bite you later when you need help.
What would you add to the list? Please share.
Image: 'Panama Business and Investment'
Found on flickrcc.net