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Career Story: Elementary School Administrator

Elementary School Administrator

Job Title: School Administrator

Type of Company: Educating children

Education: BA, M.Ed., Ph.D., Boston College •• M.Ed., Harvard

Previous Experience: I have been in education for the past two decades.

Job Tasks: As a school administrator my job is complex and variable but also exciting. I am responsible for assuring that each student in my building receives the best educational opportunity possible. That being said, I work in a classroom helping teachers to meet the individual learning needs of students. I conduct formal and informal evaluations of teachers. I meet with parents, students and community members on all sorts of issues. I am responsible for the state-wide standard assessments that all students must take as well as for taking the data from those assessments and making curricular and instructional changes that will meet student needs.

I am primarily responsible for student discipline and setting the tone and mood of the school. I am also responsible for making sure that students emotional needs are met. Although a school's primary function is to educate children, there is much more to that than teaching them to read, write and do mathematics. Children come to school each day with all sorts of baggage. Some come from safe, happy homes where they get food, shelter, clothing and love. Too many other children are not so lucky and it makes the process of schooling them more difficult.

My most important work is the work that I do with children, whatever that consists of: a "Hello" in the hallway, a conversation in the lunch room or in my office. It's that work with children that I believe has the greatest impact on their education, though it's the work of individual teachers that makes the greatest difference. Being responsible for a school and its operations is a difficult, always changing and exciting job.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The most difficult part of my job is the way I'm hampered by financial constraints. It's lack of adequate funding that leads to large class sizes and a dearth of teacher resources. Without adequate funding badly needed resources, including psychological support, are simply unavailable. In addition the lack of funds leads to cuts in extra-curricular programs that help to motivate children to learn.

Job Tips: The work of an educator is one of the most difficult jobs you can take, so be sure that you really love being around children. Be sure, too, that you have a strong understanding of the curriculum and an ability to use the data from student assessments to effect real change.

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