Education & Training

Top Life Hacks for School Principals

by Dr. Shanthi Thomas

School Principals play a pivotal role in the running of the school and are a defining influence on teachers, students and the community in general. The job description of a school Principal is daunting; it is not a job for the feeble-hearted. This being the case, they can benefit from life hacks that will make their lives easier. Read on to understand the top life hacks for school Principals.

1. Accept that some people might hate you

You cannot please everyone when you take decisions affecting teachers and students, and sometimes their parents. Some people will love you, but some others might hate you for the decisions you make. That is the nature of the job, and there is nothing personal in it. All you need to do is to base your decisions on clear values and ideology, and ignore the naysayers.

2. Take care of personal grooming

Invest in quality clothes and shoes. You are in a position of authority and influence, and there will be many people coming to visit you. A school Principal should look respectable and well-groomed. Do manicure and pedicure, and take care of your hair. Keep yourself fit by drinking lots of water and exercising.

3. Be visible

 The school Principal is an omnipresent individual. Parents see him when they drop off their kids at school in the morning. Kids see him walking outside their classrooms. He is seen cheering the players at the basketball match. He is present at all school programs and functions. The point is that the Principal should be a highly visible person and cannot be cooped up in his office all the time.

4. Conduct walk-throughs

Walk-throughs are when Principals walks into a classroom and looks at teaching and learning. They are a great way to show presence keep teachers and students on their toes. It is a great way to gauge student learning. 

5. Celebrate students’ and the school’s successes

There is nothing as heady as the feeling of success. A good Principal will celebrate and be seen to celebrate each and every one of the students’ as well as the school’s successes, minor or major. It could be as major as winning the national basketball tournament or as small as one of the students qualifying for the district team. What matters is that it is celebrated, and the joy is shared with all.

6. Know your staff

As the school Principal, you will do well if you know your teachers, and know them in depth. If one of them falls sick and is in the hospital, visit them with flowers or fruits. Ask about their kids and elderly parents. This does not mean that you should be too friendly with teachers. On the contrary, you should give the idea that you are taking care of them.

7. Be fair and consistent

Unfair and inconsistent decisions and actions take away the credibility of a Principal. You should have a policy and a value system based on which you take decisions, and those decisions should be consistent no matter whom it is applied to.

8. Be organized

Organization is everything when you need to deal with hundreds of students, their parents, the Ministry of Education of the country and the school staff. Not to mention personal commitments. Therefore, you should have an efficient system to sort documents into incoming and outgoing boxes, to assign files to suitable folders and not to leave the desk with papers strewn around. Most Principals have a support system made up of a clerk and secretary. Many of the clerical tasks can be left to them.

9. Be prepared

Being a Principal, one has to hold meetings, meet parents and Ministry officials, and address groups of people – both young and old. A Principal who stumbles for words in front of a group of students will be looked down on and not respected. Any meeting or public function should be well-prepared for, with good delegation of tasks to appropriate people.

10. Maintain work-life balance

When you have multiple tasks to do at any given moment, it is a temptation to stay late in the office and finish everything before you go home. This means going back home late, and not spending quality time with family. This is unhealthy for both you and your dear ones. Write down the tasks to do the next day, and go home on time. Take care of yourself and family well.

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