Career Story: Elementary School Principal

Elementary School Principal

Job Title: Elementary School Principal

Education: BS in Education, Rhode Island College •• MA in Educational Administration, Framingham State College

Previous Experience: I was as elementary teacher for 20 years and a fulltime assistant principal for 4 years.

Job Tasks: An elementary school principal multi-tasks all day.

Each day, I greet the students outdoors before school, visit each classroom each day and say goodbye at the end of the day.

My favorite part of this position is working with the children and teachers. Most of my day involves administrative tasks: it could be meeting with a parent, a teacher, or both. I could be called to speak with a child or children regarding behavior issues, or poor choices, be notified that there is a plumbing problem in the boys or girls lavatories, a teacher may have to leave or not come in, the nurse may need me, help out in the lunch room if there is a shortage, there is a need to practice emergency procedures from time to time, deal with personnel issues, meet with PTO members etc.

I enjoy dealing with parents most of the time. Some can be difficult and not be objective when their child is involved so it can be frustating. My main focus is always "the child" and what is in his or her best interest. The children's success is primary.

My days are full and busy and no two are alike. It is fun to come to school each day to see what new, or old, issues arise.

It is important for a principal not to over-react quickly. Keeping calm is most beneficial to all. Emotions can get high so listening to all parties involved is key. When all the facts are presented it is then time to make a decision.

Evening meetings are essential but not my favorite part of the job. Because we are a private school marketing is important and ongoing.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love seeing the smiling faces of children each day - it is the best part - teaching, training, and influencing their lives in a positive manner. Children are carefree and easy going and love to be in school where their day is structured and they are in a positive environment.

There is no part I hate. I dislike meetings, meetings, meetings but know they are essential.

Job Tips: Experience in the classroom is the best preparation for a principal - as many years as possible. Once you have been in the trenches of teaching, then you can better relate to any issue that comes about and make a prudent decision.

Education, and a Masters degree, and continuing education are essential.

Additional Thoughts: Principalship is a wonderful, gratifying position. I didn't always want to be a principal (teaching was my forte) but many people saw me as an administartor and I listened. My days are not always perfect but enriching and fullfilling.

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