Good teachers are great, but good principals are essential

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  • worf Mcallen, TX
    May 12, 2012 11:18 a.m.

    A principal to a school is like:

    * a coach to an athletic team
    * a father to a home
    * a leader to the country.
    * a general to his men
    * a pastor to the congregation

    Honesty and character are essential for success.

  • jimmyking SANDY, UT
    May 9, 2012 12:03 a.m.

    I second the opinion that great principals need to have been great teachers. In most Utah districts, many elementary schools are now led by individuals who only taught for a few years in middle schools or high schools. Tell me how these people can effectively lead elementary teachers who absolutely know that these people haven'tpracticed what they are preaching to them? Such a joke!

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 7, 2012 8:01 p.m.

    The greatest lack of preparation that many current Principals have is lack of time spent as a classroom teacher. To often teachers spend a few years in the classroom then move into administration because the paycheck is so much bigger. In the school district I work in we have approximately 30 schools. Of those 30 schools at least 60% of them have Principals who spent less than 5 years as a classroom teacher. There is no way you can understand what it means to be an educational leader in a school if you have 5 years or less experience as a classroom teacher.

    I would also agree that the Principal is more important to the success of the school than the individual teacher. Teachers can effect what happens in an individual classroom, but it is the Principal that sets the tone for the school. That is one of the reasons that Senator Osmond's legislation is so important and starts out by trying to create administrative accountability.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    May 7, 2012 7:36 p.m.

    there's an old adage that when the teacher misses school they get a sub but when the secretary misses school it's a crisis. But when the principal misses school, nobody notices.

    But on a serious note, good principals do make a difference. Good principals support good and great teachers, give them the tools and resources to succeed but let them take the lead in pedagogy (after all, they are the experts). Good principals involve parents in meaningful ways and make students accountable for attendance and behavior while making teachers accountable for student learning and having high expectations. Good principals manage money or resources well and represent the school well to the community. Good principals will try to improve staff morale which includes teachers, secretaries, custodians, and paraprofessionals.

    I would say great teachers are still the key to a good school but a poor principal can certainly lessen their effectiveness and destroy their morale.