The Principalship Essay

The PrincipalshipQuestion 1The idea of the principal as the educational leader is an accurate portrayal of how the principal is cast in many different school districts and in areas that are associated with the role.  The role of principal can not be defined simply as the role is very versatile and requires that the individual be a number of different things all at the same time.  The principal in some ways works as a CEO works for a company in that the principal is expected to be the supreme manager and force behind the school board’s decisions as well as being someone who should stand on behalf of the faculty and teachers that are underneath him or her.  The principal is someone who needs to know what is going on at all times and who is concerned with the overall order and preservation of the school in order to be able to manage what is happening in the environment around him or her.  Overall the principal is expected to be so many different things and to wear so many different hats that is impossible to simply describe his or her role in the school district or educational system.One way to describe the principal is to think of him or her as the supreme overseer of the school.  This is the most accurate description that can be thought of as the basic job of the principal is to oversee various things.  The first thing that the principal must oversee is the school board and the way that the school is expected to be ran.

  The principal is directed by the school board as to certain things that need to be thought about and followed up with and is told about how these things can be a part of what is going on.  The principal is therefore later expected to follow through with the board and to be able to report back as to the things that others are thinking about and having problems with.  These overall thoughts and well beings are that there is a connection between the two different types of things that are going on.  In some aspects there are continuous aspects that need reported on regularly and other areas are where there are issues that only need to be reported on when there are changes or in extreme circumstances.  This is one area where the principal must maintain discretion and be able to identify what issues are pressing and need regular follow up and which issues are not pressing and can be reserved for later.

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Another area where the principal must act upon on a daily basis is as a moderator.  The principal must help to maintain solid relationships between staff members and other staff members as well as between staff members and parents.  The principal must be able to look at things in an objective manner even when there is no reason for him or her to be able to do so.  This type of discernment is really important as it can mean the difference in the overall perception of a principal being positive or negative.  A principal must stand up for the teachers when it is appropriate but must also reprimand the teachers and stand behind parents when this is appropriate as well.  Through this type of difference there are things that need to be followed up with and monitored and this is often something that can sink a principal and make the overall perception of things negative.

In some writings it is suggested that the principal is an image maker and some believe that this is about how the principal is able to do things for the students.  The principal needs to be able to manage the overall things that have been involved for the students and to be able to make sure that the school has the image that is necessary for all involved.  School image is important to a number of individuals and overall groups of people including the school board, parents, teachers and students.

  So the principal must also be able to explain these issues and must also be able to make sure that the students have a good image and a place to come to that is considered to be someplace where others would want to be.  In schools that have been observed this statement seems to be true about a principal.  This is because there is no principal who is not aware of the things that are going on around his or her school.  In most school districts it is important for the principal to be informed of things that are concerned with the appearance of the school.  Typically the principal must be consulted prior to decorations in the hallways and classrooms as well as being the one identify the issues that will be talked about and being able to write and release all press information on topics as well.

  The principal must be informed as to what is going on around him or her and must be talked to in relationship to these issues (Gee 2009).In another essay it is thought that the principal is an instructional leader.  This is because of the principal needing to instruct as he or she leads.  Some of the examples that were given was that the principal was someone who had to manage the things that were overseeing the curriculum.  This type of overseeing and these jobs are something that monitored strictly in some way.  This overseeing of the curriculum is something that can be observed in most school systems.  The basis is that the principal should be able to see where there school needs to go and therefore should be able to monitor things with the students and teachers with what is being taught in the classrooms.

  This is often an area of debate between principals and other school employees and officials.  This is because the principal does not have the most contact with the students and therefore the teachers often feel as though they need to be the ones who monitor curriculum or pick out new curriculums that are available for them.  The best way to manage this is for the principal to have a good relationship with the teachers and for the principal to be able to tell the teachers what they are expecting and to be able to talk to them in order of picking out the curriculum.

  The teachers that are involved in the decision making process can often let the students know what is going on (Phillips).In the reading, school principals are looked at from the students’ perspectives in which the majority of the students felt that the principal’s job was to protect them and help them to be able to learn the most information possible.  This is similar to how the principals are viewed in most schools.  Most students that you can talk to will inform you that the principal works to help the school and that the principal’s job is to make sure that everything in the school is okay.  Most students, especially those who are younger, look at the principal as their teacher’s boss and the person who makes the majority of decisions in the school.  To a student these decisions have to deal with problems that are going on in school and how the teachers are allowed to discipline and also in how the students are expected to act or conduct themselves (Thomas).Principals are also thought to be symbol managers.

  This theory is that the symbol of the principal is what keeps the teachers and students in line and is something that is worth exploring further.  This issue can be seen in many different ways in most school districts.  This is because in most schools the simple and pure threat of the principal being upset can keep a student and teacher in check.

  This is that the student and teacher do the things that they are told that they need to do without having any other problems.  This symbol management is something that prevails in a number of different ways.  Through these areas there are so many things that need to be thought about as a principal in the school district as being seen in this light can have a negative effect on things.  These negative effects are something that seems to sometimes outweigh the good.  Through this standard and making sure that the principal is able to take care of things at the level for which they are assigned is something that can help to keep the principal in check.  This is because there is no reason that the principal should have the right to be able to be in supreme power and sometimes a principal allows their administrative power to get the overall best of them and allows for things to happen that should never happen.  In these situations it is important to know what is going on and to be able to discuss how things are happening (Kelly and Bredeson 1989).

Question 2            There is a lot of literature that has been written about principals and how the role should be fulfilled.  There is a number of different issues that have been found during research as well.  One college website had the goal of defining the role of the school principal so that it was easy to understand for those who are going to school to work in the education field.  In this information the principal is described as the “highest ranking” school official.

  It is in this description where the overall decision and role of the school principal is discussed.  The paper looks at the role of principal and looks at how the role has changed over the years as well as the origination of the principal as there was not always a principal to head the school.  Overall the original issue was that when schools moved from being multiple levels all housed in one classroom to organizations that supported multiple classrooms there was a need for someone to manage these structures and to begin to develop goals for the classrooms on an ongoing supportive basis.

  This information shows that the role of principal has always been that of a manager and someone who is around to oversee the actions and processes that are involved in the school overall (School Principal… 2009).            Another subject area that has been well described in writing are the different roles that the principal plays to the different people who are involved in the school.  The principal acts as confidant and boss to teachers, friend and concerned advocate to parents, and protector and overseer to the students.  Each of these roles must be fulfilled in order for the principal to have success.

  Further each of these roles needs to maintain clear boundaries and have an overall evaluation and follow up of the goal as needed.  Through this there are a number of reasons as to why the principal is important.  For teachers the principal will help them to be able to handle tough situations and also help to instruct them on areas where there is need for improvement or where they need to change.  For parents the principal is someone that they can go to and lean on for information regarding their child’s education as well as someone that they can express concerns to about the overall well being of their child.  As for the students the principal should be someone that students feel that they can trust and someone who is able to help them to become a better individual and to grow both emotionally and mentally (North Central…).

  This muti-tasking of roles and having to put on many different hats in order to be able to be so many different things to each person is something that a principal must learn to do well land something that is often overlooked when looking at the roles of the principal.  This is because the argument is typically solely based on the educational goals rather than looking at the mental and emotional needs and then understanding that overall educational improvement can not occur without them.            In a 1999 publication that was a part of follow up for an educational and research grant there was a conducted study on the overall goals and issues that were concerned with school principals.  This was that there needed to be some type of reference point or definition as to what it is that principals are responsible for exactly.  This was defined in a short summary of things that successful principals had or did particularly well:  “controlling staff hiring and development practices is critical to creating an effective community; experience matters—all these principals had considerable time in the system; a coherent educational mission throughout all grades in the community helps mobilize the staff and the school community, though which theme is selected may matter less; high expectations for students, not just in rhetoric but also in practice was common to every principal and they all expected everyone in the school community to live up to high standards and enforce those high expectations” (Teske and Schneider  1999, p. 5).  Overall what the authors were saying is that there is a distinction between school principals who were successful and particular characteristics and beliefs that they had which helped them to achieve the best possible goals for their schools.Some other studies have looked at the styles of principals and how they perceive their role to affect teachers and the motivation thereof.

  Overall what was shown in the research was that there was little understanding by the principals of what was motivating the teachers who were working under them.  This is because many principals would look at different overall issues than what the teachers themselves look at or care about.  In this the teachers are the ones who are being misguided by their principals as the principals are thinking that they are leading the teachers in the right direction but somewhere they are going wrong and are headed in a different direction.  This different in opinion is rarely anything that can be construed as being too negative however it would explain why the most common complaint against principals is that they do not understand the teachers and what is going on for the teachers.  This is a basic overall idea about motivation and why teachers teach the lessons that they do and why they are working employed as teachers.

  In some other areas this is something that continues to be up for debate as someone who teaches rarely wants to admit to anything that might make them sound less than stellar so the principals explanation is that the teachers would not admit to some of these motivations readily (Diamantes 2004).  This information is most important in understanding the discrepancy of the teachers and the principals and how both sides are essentially want the same things.A final thought on principals that was found and made to be important when researching was the overall perspective of the instructional role that the principal was expected to play.  Literature overall agreed that the principal was to instruct the teachers on the importance of particular issues and subjects and that the principal was to lead the teachers in their decision making.  However it was not discussed what goes on when there are discrepancies and when teachers and principals do not agree on such topics.

  This is a big area of concern as there needs to cohesion.  Another big area of concern for this issue is that the overall objection to the principal not understanding these roles and what is going on is like saying that the principal does not understand his or her overall roles and how to manage the school or that the principal does not know how to engage successfully in what the students needs are (Mitchell and Castle 2005).  This subject is one that is up for debate and something that will have to be sorted out in years to come as there is a new movement springing forward where the teachers are hoping to be able to have more influence on curriculum and teaching choices.            In researching the role of principals and the overall perception of what a principal is there are many things that need to be considered and thought about.  The overall goals of a principal and the overall strategies that he or she uses to fulfill these goals is widely based on their own intuitions and what they think will work better for them.  This is that they are willing to do certain things but in other aspects they are not willing to move on to an area where they are not happy or where they are selling out on their overall goals and beliefs.

  This means that intentions are simply pure for most who are working in the educational field but some people just view roles differently.  When looking at the research and the difference in opinion there is no wonder that the roles are viewed differently as they are all part of the same system and the same category however there are many things that would encourage those who are performing such roles to be different.  If someone were trying to be a principal and follow of these rules and fulfill all of the roles that they had read about it would be impossible.  Therefore a principal but use discernment in choosing how he or she will respond and must logically look at things in the way that will most benefit himself or herself.  It is also important for the principal to look at how the effect will take place with the teachers, the students and the overall running of the school.ReferencesDiamantes, T. (2004).  What Principals Think Motivates Teachers, Journal ofInstructional Psychology.

Gee, D. (2009).  Challenges of Principalship, The Principalship:  The School Principal’sHandbook Series.  University of New England.Kelly, B.E. and Bredeson, P.

V. (1989).  Measures of Meaning in a Public and in aParochial School:  Principals as Symbol Managers, Journal of Educational Administration, 29:3, 6-22.Mitchell, C.

and Castle, J.B. (2005).  The Instructional Role of Elementary SchoolPrincipals, Canadian Journal of Education.North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.  Role of the Principal , North CentralRegional Educational Laboratory.  Retrieved on 20 July 2009 from http://www.

ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/envrnmnt/css/cs1lk3-2.htmPhillips, J.A.  Manager-Administrator to Instructional Leader:  Shift in the Role of theSchool Principal.School Principal-The Role of Elementary and Secondary School Principals, PrincipalDuties and Responsibilities, Principal Qualifications, State University.  Retrieved on 19 July 2009 from http://education.stateuniversity.

com/pages/2333/Principal-School.htmlTeske, P.E. and Schneider, M. (1999).  The Importance of Leadership:  The Role ofSchool Principals, Grant Report.Thomas, A.

R.  School Leadership and the School Principal, Teaching in Context, 135-153.