What Does A School Principal Do?
School principals fulfill many roles to keep the school running. They are notably the leaders in any school setting but that is just one of their many functions. They also evaluate teachers, discipline students, implement and review the efficacy of the curriculum and other programs, determine the relevance of existing policies, hire new teachers, talk with parents and build relations in the community. If this seems like a tough call, that’s because it is and it takes a strong, principled and highly-organized individual who is committed to the students’ welfare to do the job.
As the leaders of their school, principals see to it that the school is running smoothly. They address any concerns that the faculty, staff and students have each day—whether it’s about the janitor’s complaint that there are students who don’t flush the toilet after use to the faculty’s suggestions about the class field trip or students popping in to explain why they cut classes the day before. School principals have to know everything that is going on in their school, especially when it comes to behavior and academic performance since district superintendents will inquire about these during their regular visits.
School principals discipline students who are misbehaving in the school premises. Most of these cases involve serious student infractions that the teachers cannot anymore handle in the classroom. For example, the disciplinary actions for students smoking in school, bullying others or doing drugs are matters that are taken care of by the school principal. Depending on the policies of their student handbook, the principal may give a verbal warning to the student, suspend him or expel him from school for the offense committed. They will also schedule meetings with parents to let them know about their child’s misbehavior.
Teacher performance is a very important factor in the students’ performance in national exams. It is the job of principals to observe and evaluate the performance of their teachers following state guidelines. Sometimes, the observations can involve just a quick peek by the window after the bell has rung to determine if the classes have already started or the teacher is still preparing the lesson (which can count against the teacher). At other times, the evaluation is more formal, with the principal bringing his notepad, sitting at the back of the class and noting the teacher’s strengths and weaknesses. After the session, the principal talks to the teacher and provides recommendations to improve his or her teaching style.
The education curriculum is constantly evolving, especially in the light of modern day advancements in technology. The principal conducts reviews of the programs that they are following to determine if it is still effective. Sometimes, the principals will draw on the experience of other schools or at other times, they may just make a few changes to their own program based on what they have noticed about the performance of their students. For example, they may incorporate new technologies in the teaching of science to make it more interesting to students.
Another area which also requires the attention of principals is the student handbook. This should be reviewed annually to make sure that the policies there continue to remain relevant to the changing times. If the principal has noticed that certain rules and policies are not effective or don’t enhance the quality of the student’s experience, he may opt to change it.
Before classes start, principals have to fill their rosters with dedicated, responsible and knowledgeable teachers. Interviewing and reviewing their credentials are very important tasks because teachers who know what they are doing certainly make a principal’s life more relaxed. They may have to get the teachers’ and assistant principal’s recommendations about the applicant but in the end, a ranking system will be employed by the principal to determine who the best candidate is.
School principals also have to supervise the school’s finances. They see to it that the teachers’ salaries are disbursed on time and supplies and equipment are ordered promptly.
Principals aren’t only confined to their duties within their schools. They also have to build rapport with the members of the community so that they will support the school and its activities. Some residents may even donate to the school based on how well the principal interacts with the community, making good communication and interpersonal skills an important trait in the principal’s role as the school’s ambassador to the outside world.