About a month ago, I participated in an online session of a course for school admin. This particular session was called “What Do I Want In My Principal?”
As a student, I was asked to contribute my thoughts on this topic. Here (https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2012-11-27.1631.M.BF5846468DDBB6451EF67CC1F1F493.vcr&sid=2009083) is a link of the recorded session, but here are a few of my thoughts that I think are most relevant.
To me, a good principal is one who supports growth across the board. For example, in junior high, my principal Mr. A would be involved in various pln’s within different subjects that were geared towards not only helping the students learn better but helping the teachers learn new and different ways of teaching. That commitment to growth really speaks to me. Also, I think a good principal is one who can be also identified as a teacher. Both my junior high and high school principals also taught classes, while my elementary school principal, well I rarely ever saw him. Perhaps as a result, I felt it was easier to talk with my junior high or high school principals than with my elementary school one. Similarly, i think a warm vibe is an important quality to have because then people (like random students such as i am) feel comfortable going to them with questions or comments or suggestions. My current high school principal was new last year, and in an effort to get to know the faculty and students better, he opened up his lunch hour multiple times a week for an opportunity to eat with him and talk about anything we felt was going well, needed changing, or could be a helpful addition to our school. That was awesome but unfortunately, a lot of students didn’t grab that opportunity. I believe that a principal should not be a “ruler” of sorts. By this I mean, a principal should not make decisions unilaterally but by taking into account the voices of their administrative team, faculty, and even students. Along with being a non-dictator of a leader, comes the last two facets I have in mind: a good listener and an open mind. As a proponent of Student Voice in education, I feel like its important that a principal at least listens to their students. This doesn’t mean doing everything they ask but simply giving it some thought. That’s really important to me and it seems like a simple thing to do. The final “quality” is an open mind. In life, I’ve come to feel that this sort of encompasses everything. If one approaches life open to change, growth, suggestions, failure and commits to taking all these things in stride, the possibilities are endless.