Career Story: Principal Of An Elementary School

Principal Of An Elementary School

Job Title: Principal

Type of Company: I am the principal of an elementary school.

Education: BS, Education, Bridgewater State College (Bridgewater, MA) •• M.Ed., Northeastern University

Previous Experience: I was an elementary school teacher for 11 years and a Curriculum Coordinator for seven years before becoming a principal of an elementary school.

Job Tasks: My job looks different each day. I am the curriculum leader of the school and so it is my responsibility to be sure that each teacher at each grade level is teaching the curriculum standards that have been set forth by the State. I also have to make sure that their classroom management allows each child to learn throughout the day.

I am also responsible for disciplining students who have misbehaved in class, at lunch, at recess, or on the bus. This usually involves listening to the student's story, the staff member's story, determining a punishment, writing a behavior slip, and calling the family.

I am also responsible for providing professional development opportunities for the staff members to allow them to enrich the curriculum and learn new strategies that will help their students.

I work closely with the parents of the students at my school to insure that their children have a successful year. I also work closely with the members of my Parent Advisory Council who run fundraisers so that the students can participate in cultural enrichment programs and field trips.

I order textbooks, paper, pencils and all other supplies that are needed in the classroom and in the office area. I oversee the custodians, the cafeteria workers, and the aides. I fill in for teachers and aides who need coverage for their duties, and I supervise recess and cafeteria activities. I welcome the students at the door in the morning and I wave good-bye at the end of the day.

I am in charge of the Special Education plans for students with learning disabilities and I oversee the State assessment program for 5 weeks each year.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with the teachers to help create programs that will help their students better understand the curriculum. I also enjoy working with the students in the classroom and socializing with them during lunch and recess.

The worst part of my job is dealing with the behavior issues. It is time-consuming playing detective and trying to find out which student's story is the truth. The time spent on these issues takes away from the mission of the school which is to provide a quality education to all who attend.

Job Tips:
1. Spend as much time in classrooms as possible with as many different teachers as you can. You will be able to identify the successful teachers whom you will want to emulate.

2. Realize that the job of an educator is not a ten-month job and it does not end when your students leave for the day. There is a lot of planning to be done.

3. Continue to take courses and workshops to improve your skills.

4. Team up with a grade level teacher and co-teach.

5. Teach as many grade levels as you can before applying for a principal's position.

Additional Thoughts: As a principal you will be supervising 20-30 staff members. They will not all teach the way you did or share the same personal life that you do. It is important not to judge the teachers on those qualities. The key point always comes back to what is best for the students. If a teacher's style of teaching is making a connection for the students that is what counts.

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