What are the good and bad points of becoming the principal of the school where you have taught for several years?I have recently passed an Italian national competition to become a school principal....

What are the good and bad points of becoming the principal of the school where you have taught for several years?

I have recently passed an Italian national competition to become a school principal. The school where I have been teaching for the past ten years has a vacancy for the position of principal. Would it be a good idea to apply?

Asked on by lprono

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lentzk's profile pic

Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

My husband's school just hired a current teacher (Physical Education) to replace their departing assistant principal.  I will talk to him in the future and report back in this thread if anything interesting occurs. 

I do agree with #7 in that if the new principal is grounded with a sense of professional history it can work out wonderfully.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As long as the new principal does not forget what it is like "in the trenches," he/she can relate to fellow teachers.  If the principal runs the school democratically, empowering the teachers, there may very well be effective management of the school. Of course, there will always be petty, envious teachers, but they exist everywhere.

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shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Principals are essentially managers. In any management situation there can be problems when a person goes from being a peer to a boss. The roles of teacher and principal are so different that a person really cannot approach both jobs with the same perspective.

I think that a teacher who becomes a principal at the same school should be a teacher who was already showing supervisory skill and who already had the respect of his peers as a leader.

On the positive side, when you stay at the same school you certainly do save a whole lot of the time and effort that goes into learning about a new place and a new staff.

lentzk's profile pic

Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The pros and cons for this topic really depend on your personality.  At my current school, we have recently had one of our colleagues become the assistant principal, and it was great; she remained really approachable, pleasant, and was super professional with all professional development and teacher appraisal matters.  This member of the staff was widely respected before she took the post of principal, and people still continued to respect her afterwards. 

 

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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I agree with the above posts.  It would be nice to become principal at a school you're already working at because you will be familiar with the school.  You will understand the culture of the school and its students.  You will be far more likely to know where changes need to be made and which things should stay the same.  On the other hand, it might be more difficult for other faculty members to adjust to those changes when they are coming from a former colleague.  The relationships with other faculty, students, and parents will change and this could cause some problems.  It could be difficult for some faculty members to accept you as their leader after getting to know you as their colleague.  

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I agree with the previous post.  I think this would be a really hard thing to do, at least in the culture of an American school.  It is, of course, possible that the culture of an Italian school would be different enough to make it possible.

You asked about pros and cons, though.  The pro of applying would be that you would be familiar to everyone there already.  That might make it so that you could have some credibility right away.  You might not need to prove yourself in the same way that you would if you moved to another school.

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I would think a few issues could arise from you being a teacher in the school prior to becoming the principal. First, the relationship you have with fellow teachers is far different from the one of the principal teacher. Therefore, you might have some problems reconstructing the relationship based upon your new role.

Second, the relationship between a teacher and a student is very different than a principal and a student. Principals are required to control far different issues than teachers. Students who believe that they have a good relationship with you may try to take advantage of your role as the principal.

I would suggest only applying for the position if you are certain you will be able to change your own perspective regarding the position and the relationships within the school, which have already been established. I would suggest speaking with fellow teachers about your concerns.

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