Career Story: Principal At An Elementary School

Principal At An Elementary School

Job Title: Elementary School Principal

Type of Company: I work for a public school system in a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut.

Education: BS, Elementary Education, Central Connecticut State College •• MS, Reading and Mathematics, Central Connecticut State University •• Sixth Year, Administration, Central Connecticut State University

Previous Experience: I worked as a bank teller before going on to college.

Job Tasks: On a typical day, I am involved in many different issues that require me to make many decisions. My first responsibility is to the children I see as they walk in the door. It is important that they see me every day and know that I am in the building. I also make sure that the teachers know I am in the building as well. To that end, I will spend time walking the halls and saying good morning to the staff and the students. Once the day begins, I will attend to tasks such as answering emails from around the district, calling parents back who've left messages for me, working on various items that have to be completed by certain deadlines. I am likely to meet with a teacher to discuss a lesson observation or to plan an observation. I am also likely to be in a meeting either in or out of the building. In the building, I am likely to be involved in a special education meeting or committee meetings that typically happen early in the day. Outside the building I will be at the central office where I may be meeting with other principals and district administration to discuss issues surrounding the implementation of new initiatives and problems/success that I am seeing.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is being with the children. To them, the principal is some kind of superstar. I am fortunate to be working with a great group of people who support my efforts.

The worst part of my job is dealing with parents who listen to everything that their children say and assume it is all true.

Job Tips: Don't rush into administration. Spend many years as a teacher and move around every few years so you can experience various grade levels or specific areas of education.

Start your administrative career as an assistant principal. The experience you get in that position helps to make you a better decision maker and one who is able to brush off difficult situations with ease.

Before taking on a position with this much responsibility, be sure you are at the right point in your life. For example, if you have young children who need you at home every evening, it might not be the right time.

Additional Thoughts: The job of principal is a very demanding but rewarding one. To be successful in this role, you have to be willing to juggle many different responsibilities, deal with all kinds of issues each day, and appear to be in control and calm through it all. It is important that your staff and the students see you as consistently in a good mood and never rattled or frustrated.

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