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19 Things Teachers Want Their Principal to Know

Teachers are tired. More precisely, they feel exhausted. They often feel alone and long for support and understanding. In the past 15 years or so, I have seen a shift in the way society views educators. While there was some good that came from No Child Left Behind (2001), it began a wave of change in the pressure teachers feel to perform with perfection. Knowing that 100% success was expected 100% of the time, teachers began to feel mounting stress and worry that they would not meet the impossible standard. The reverence and respect society had seemingly shown for educators was replaced with a sense of fault-finding and yes, parental entitlement. (I’ll save my thoughts about entitlement for another post….) Somewhere along the way, the American teacher became the enemy.

Now, more than ever, teachers need the support and understanding of a strong, exemplary administration. At the core of that administration is the principal, who truly holds the balance of the school’s climate and positive progress in his or her hands.

Make no mistake about it; principals have one of the toughest jobs out there. They are often intensely scrutinized by local boards and their hands are tied by constantly-changing laws and initiatives. Pair that with a lack of funding over which they have no control, and it can be a very frustrating situation.
What is the solution, then? While the simplistic answer of teamwork seems obvious, for some reason it just does not happen on a regular basis in a great number of schools. There are an astounding number of teachers that feel unheard and unsupported by their administration.
I recently posed the question, “What do you wish your principal knew or understood about you?” to professional educators across the country. The answers were varied, but often had common themes of a need for trust and professionalism. Curious? Here is a collection of the most prevalent answers:
  1. Trust us enough to decide how to best teach. Support and trust mean everything.
  2. We work hard and for many hours beyond the normal school day. Our goal is to provide the best possible education for every student. Unnecessary interruptions during teaching time hinder that goal.
  3. Give us the time needed to plan and do away with other distractions and “busy work.” Working through a school day without a planning period is extremely difficult.
  4. Don’t play favorites. Just like in the classroom, playing favorites isn’t cool!
  5. Come into my classroom more than once or twice for an evaluation.  Watch me teach. Basing my entire year’s evaluation on one lesson slightly gone wrong is not fair.
  6. I think I should be trusted enough to not have to jump through hoops in order to prove myself as an effective teacher.
  7. Communication is the KEY.
  8. Don’t punish me for a job well done. Just because I am hard-working and capable, don’t come to me to be on every committee and to help solve every problem. It is not fair to give me the difficult, heart-wrenching cases year after year because I do a good job. Spread the workload fairly.
  9. Demonstrate honesty. Word gets around, so answer the same questions the same way for everyone.
  10. Help me. Talk with me and give me ideas for improvement. Please don’t tell me I’m doing something wrong and then not help me know how to fix it.
  11. Speak kindly about all your teachers. Talking about me to other teachers behind my back serves no purpose except for helping your staff to lose trust in you.
  12. Support me with parental interactions.  Please come to me and talk when a parent calls before assuming the worst or responding to that call.
  13. If you don’t know something, such as special education laws, please do not pretend you do. Just ask. We don’t expect you to know every single new law or initiative; we do expect you to ask and learn.
  14. Don’t punish the group for the actions of one person. For instance, if one teacher does not write lesson plans as expected, don’t force everyone to then write extensive, elaborate lesson plans.
  15. Lead. We want you to lead. A good principal will get out front and lead by example and professionalism. Lead; don’t boss.
  16. Stop the constant stream of initiatives. We know some are necessary and required by law. Others are superfluous and wasteful of our limited time.
  17. I have a life beyond school. I have a family who needs me. Teaching is my job, and while I love my career, ultimately, my family will come first. I cannot attend every, single school function after working hours, nor should I be expected to do so.
  18. I cry. Sometimes I cry a lot. I worry about my students. I stress over my scores. I feel unloved and disliked by parents and community members. My job is a lonely one. Show a little kindness.
  19. I realize that you are a person with genuine feelings, too. I don’t expect you to be perfect. When you do make a mistake, as we all do, please just admit it and make the necessary corrections.
By far, this question received the most comments and feedback from teachers than any other I had previously posted on my social media networks. Many teachers feel that they do not have a voice or are worried that if they speak out, they may be in danger of losing their job. Ultimately, though, what struck me most was the strong emotion behind so many of the comments I received.
To those teachers who are struggling with an unsupportive or uncaring principal, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are numerous educators who are feeling what you feel. Hang in there and keep doing what you do best: teaching from the heart!
Teamwork really is the key. I know it sounds simplistic and cliche, but it is true. In truly successful, positive, happy schools, the teachers and administration (and yes, sometimes even the board!) work side by side, finding solutions to everyday problems, envisioning a bright future, and planning a path toward their common goals.

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Shelly Rees

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80 Comments

  • Sandy Cangelosi June 22, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Well said, Shelly. Great post. Sandy

    • Shelly Rees June 22, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      Thank you, Sandy!

    • Teresa January 8, 2016 at 2:13 am

      I sent a link to this blog to my principal. She did not appreciate it and I have had a target on my back since the day I sent it. They do not want to know.

      • Teresa L.C. January 20, 2016 at 5:39 pm

        I experience the same reaction by a new manager many years ago when I shared a couple of books on managing, He hated them and felt threatened. I knew I needed to transfer or find another job. I was a terrific employee–excellent evaluations and promoted quickly. My previous managers at the same company shared the books with the employees and encourage us to share. The books, were the “one minute manager” and the “59 second employee.”

        I hope your principal grows up.

      • Bmac February 12, 2016 at 4:36 am

        As a principal, I can categorically say that is not true. I am so exhausted by being treated like the Other. I have been a teacher in a variety of settings from kindergarten through 12th grade, instructional coach, assistant principal, and principal for many, many years and there is no job as hard as the job I currently have as an elementary principal. It is also lonely and results are far less evident on a daily basis.

        While these bullet points are important, I am amazed at the lack of empathy ever expressed towards the role of the principal or any self-awareness on the part of teachers that principles are human and cry and work in desperate circumstances to serve all children. This works both ways people.

        • Betsy February 16, 2016 at 12:57 am

          “that principles are human” -2 spelling

        • Michelle July 6, 2016 at 4:27 pm

          This is a defensive reply. Your focus is on yourself. Everyone in a lead role can learn from these.

        • Angela July 7, 2016 at 4:44 pm

          I agree I have a wonderful principal. He is fair, kind, and supportive on all accounts. He also understands this stress we are all under and does his best to relieve as much as possible. I feel so blessed to be working with such a great human being.

      • Helen Thomsett February 12, 2016 at 6:20 pm

        Theresa, you send an email link to your principal about being better communicators with teachers and you don’t understand why they’d be offended? How about having one or two specific things you’d like to discuss and have a face-to-face meeting with your principal about your concerns but have constructive suggestions on how to move forward or bring up a concern with ideas of how to bring about change at a staff meeting. Your principal doesn’t need to grow up, as someone else suggests but rather you need to improve your communication skills before sending an email that most people would find a personal attack. It was a nasty thing to do sending this to someone and giving them no right to reply and you wonder why you feel you are under the spotlight? Did you send them an email with positive feedback on things they do well?

        • Shelby L. February 13, 2016 at 3:31 am

          Ouch. Be nice.

        • Leigha July 8, 2016 at 3:28 am

          Well said! Often times I find the things one points out as faults in others are precisely the areas they need to grow themselves. Let’s encourage one another and build one another up rather than tearing down.

      • SBailey May 6, 2016 at 11:25 pm

        Sorry to hear that! I am a Head of Secondary, I enjoyed the article. Sounds like your principal never got past the need for Trust.
        SBailey

      • Lisa July 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm

        I believe that. My former principal would have reacted badly as well. Thankfully, I just resigned and am miving away from the favoritism and unjust demands. Goid thoughts and prayers for you.

  • Carol Martinez June 22, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Shelly, I love this blog post! You captured everything that I feel!

  • Pam Olivieri June 25, 2015 at 2:15 am

    Girl, I've been wanting to do a blog like this! Teacher retention is so important!!!!

    • Shelly Rees June 25, 2015 at 3:36 am

      Thank you so much, Pam! I agree; we need to find a way to help teachers feel like they want to stay in place.

      • Aggie0tres April 20, 2016 at 5:03 am

        I am currently applying for a new teaching job bc my principal is doing a lot of the things mentioned. I love my team and the school culture but I have never been at a school where people are treated so badly. I feel burnt out.

    • Anika December 20, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      Thank you. All of the things I want Principles to know!! I’m going to share this with all of my teacher friends!

      • Cynthia December 24, 2015 at 12:16 am

        Principal.

  • Pam Olivieri June 25, 2015 at 2:21 am

    And I scheduled to post it on my FB for Sunday! Check it out then!

    Rockin Teaching Resources

  • Jessica July 3, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I have had an AMAZING principal for the past 8 years. Unfortunately for my school, he was promoted to the high school for next year. I am TERRIFIED of who we will get next. I'll have to pin this blog in case the new principal needs a little advice.

    • Patricia Bryant November 26, 2015 at 8:38 am

      I, too, had an amazing principal for all of my 8 years of teaching in a small school district. He was moved to the high school because the in house principal could not handle the job. At our elementary school he was not only incompetent as a leader, but fed into the cliques and also gossip. I, for one, chose not to participate in his un-professionalism, so thusly suffered under him during “evaluation”. I was considered a good teacher and loved my students. I resigned and chose a career that I could succeed in due to my ability, and not one inept person’s opinion.

  • Kacie Travis July 12, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Wonderfully said, Shelley! So spot on, while remaining tactful! Thank you for writing this!

    Kacie

  • Pamela October 26, 2015 at 2:32 am

    I finally (after 11 years of frustration at the increasing paperwork required by the district) told my principal I could either DO my job or DOCUMENT my job. . .he was the boss and he had to choose. He finally told me just to do the best I could, and I replied that I’d been doing that for 11 years!

    • Shelly Rees November 10, 2015 at 3:44 am

      Nice! I agree… can you imagine how much more we could actually accomplish with our students if we could spend most of our time actually teaching? What a novel concept…. 😉 Thanks again!

  • Cliff Dugosh October 26, 2015 at 4:18 am

    Great article. I’ve spoken to plenty of teacher in services. With almost all of them I have them do an exercise (as an individual, then small group, then entire group) and they come up with their biggest concerns at the school. Virtually never fails with the responses: support by our administration, esp. in discipline matters; effective communication; and feeling valued.

    • Shelly Rees November 10, 2015 at 3:42 am

      I truly appreciate your insight. It is so interesting to me that the responses you get from teachers are the same I received from teachers across the country. I believe the continual push to test and prove our worth through the results of unfair testing (that’s another post for another day) is what leads to administration feeling pressured, which then, of course, trickles down to the teachers in the trenches. Until that changes, we all need to work together to maintain a positive climate in our own schools. Thank you again!

  • Krystal November 5, 2015 at 3:25 am

    Really needed this right now. Great post.

    • Shelly Rees November 10, 2015 at 3:37 am

      Hugs! Thank you!

  • Kathi B November 5, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Shelly,
    This is the most important, informative, positive article I have read in some time. Thank you for sharing what so many of my colleagues are feeling. I agree that the climate of teaching has changed for the worst, that the respect for teachers and their professionalism has been replaced with scorn and scores.I am in the trenches every day when it comes to fighting for respect as an educator. Thankfully the battle ends at my classroom door when I am with my students. At least,there we have respect and appreciation for each other.

    • Shelly Rees November 10, 2015 at 3:37 am

      Kathi,
      Thank you! I am right there in the trenches with you every single day. I am very grateful for my wonderful class of fifth graders that keeps my perspective in line! Thank you again for your comments. Chin up and know that you are valued!

  • Sarah November 10, 2015 at 3:02 am

    i was a classroom teacher until I had children. At the time that I started to stay home, my husband went from classroom teaching to administration. When I taught, I admit I would have shared many on the sentiments from this article. Now I hear this and cringe. Teachers do work hard. They are tired. They absolutely should be supported by their principals. A good principal goes to bat for his teachers (often without their knowledge), listens, and serves them. A good principal shields his teachers from all the “crap” he’s taking on day in and day out. This good principal’s teachers often take for granted the great tone in the building or the effort behind the scenes that allows them to do what they do well. They take for granted the contentment that families feel 95% of the time. Remember that a principal’s job description is not to meet everyone’s demands on everyone else’s time table. Just because a teacher’s demand is most important to him or her at the moment may not mean it is of greatest priority. Principals are people, too. They make mistakes, they struggle to keep up with demands and expectations, all the while doing their best to keep teachers happy. If you go back and read the list in the article again as if written by a principal, you may have a more sympathetic perspective of administrators.

    • Shelly Rees November 10, 2015 at 3:34 am

      Thank you for your comments. I completely agree that principals do have a very difficult job, and as I stated at the beginning of the post, I realize that they often work under very difficult circumstances themselves. My own sister is a principal and works tirelessly to improve her school. There are many days that she, too, is exhausted from the unrealistic expectations placed upon her. The difference between administrators like her (and most likely your husband, too) is that she supports her teachers. I know firsthand of all the positive things she does to improve the morale in her building and the compassion she has for her teachers. I wish this were the case everywhere, but it is not. I received an incredible amount of emotional responses to my initial question that prompted this post. This list was not my own, although through some personal experiences I could certainly relate to it, but it was comprised of all the responses I received from around the country. Those teachers who responded were not merely whining (believe me, I know the difference); they desperately need a voice to say what they cannot from fear of losing their jobs. As I stated in the post, I do believe that teamwork is the key to affecting positive change. Thank you again for your comments and sharing your viewpoint.

    • AJ November 13, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      New teacher evaluation systems are turning principals into robots. They don’t have the time or ability to interact with teachers. They are told what to say and how to say it. One part of one observation takes 3-4 hours of computer input. It is beyond ridiculous but no one at the state or fed level seems to care. One commenter said it just right….We are documenting our jobs, not doing them. We haven’t been given a choice.

      • Amanda November 23, 2016 at 4:04 am

        Only if the administrator chooses to fall into this system… Administrators and teachers must focus on what’s best for students in order to make a positive difference.

    • Anne December 27, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      Your husband sounds like a wonderful principal. And his teachers are lucky.

      I am not so lucky, nor are others who responded to the blogger’s query.

    • Amy May 21, 2016 at 3:14 am

      I’m so happy someone responded to this in a more positive way. It is too often “us” vs. “them” with admin. and teachers. When it it becomes “us” that’s when the magic happens. There are so many egos and feelings brought to the campus when really we are ALL there for the same reason; the kids. We have common goals, we all start our paths together it’s just that sometimes we make changes and grow as professionals that sometimes scare our colleagues and make them feel insecure or less because our paths have diverged. We need open communication, honesty, trust, compassion and support. When both sides can come together it makes a very special school culture and community.

  • Neil Edwards November 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Great list. To it I’ll add #20: Remember that self-aggrandizement is transparent to your faculty.

    • Deb April 25, 2016 at 1:19 am

      Great point Neil! My prinipal has her picture all over the place. She put on our facebook..Come to our OpenHouse an meet the Principal, teachers etc. Like she is the reason they would attend our school. UGH!

  • Melissa November 12, 2015 at 1:23 am

    I am new to being a principal and found your blog through a friend. I am very interested in learning more so I can continue to make changes in my scho

    • Shelly Rees November 12, 2015 at 2:57 am

      Thanks so much. It’s wonderful that as a new principal you are already working to establish positive change in your school!

    • Rebecca Gunder December 6, 2015 at 2:16 am

      Re: Neil Edwards says
      November 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      “Great list. To it I’ll add #20: Remember that self-aggrandizement is transparent to your faculty.”

      I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • Shabba Anderson November 13, 2015 at 3:46 am

    I just had a similar conversation with one of my young principal mentees. I’m retired now, but I still have very strong feelings about the plight of teachers and educators in general. I worked hard to support my staff because I understand the challenges they faced. I’m grateful that I had the type of relationship with the majority of my staff that allowed them to tell me when they had issues or concerns.

  • Shabba Anderson November 13, 2015 at 3:47 am

    I just had a similar conversation with one of my young principal mentees. I’m retired now, but I still have very strong feelings about the plight of teachers and educators in general. I worked hard to support my staff because I understood the challenges they faced. I’m grateful that I had the type of relationship with the majority of my staff that allowed them to tell me when they had issues or concerns.

  • Karen Smith-Cox November 14, 2015 at 12:56 am

    I agree but what do we do just keep on keeping on or do teachers stand up and try to change this? Teachers used to be creative, motivated and appreciated but not anymore, what changed? Teachers need to do something and stop being the scapegoat when administrators get by with embarrassing our careers and our professionalism by blaming us for schools not working.

  • Dede November 17, 2015 at 3:24 am

    I am blessed to have a principal who has mostly been the principal you described. Although lately I can see the stress on his face. The difficulty arises when your superintendent is oblivious to these 19 issues. He makes life very difficult for all 5 of the principals in our system which trickles down to the teachers and then the students. I feel so helpless.

    • Kim Crawford November 18, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Here’s to you Ms. MITCHELL. YOUR THE GREATEST!!

  • Emily November 21, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Thank you for this, Shelly! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • Cristina November 22, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I often read your posts, and much of what you write or share is pertinent to teachers all over the world. I have taught in several international schools in Portugal, – they are private schools, with more freedom to implement their own curriculum, set santards, financially independent – and yet I have made many of the above comments, as have my colleagues, in every school that I have been in. I wouldn’t want to be an administrator, it is a tough job – our parents are demanding, we have an accreditation looming in a few years and but more and more is expected from us teachers. More admin, more meetings, more demands to provide (spoon feed) our parents with information, presentations, newsletters… more observations, more student tracking… the list goes on! I have no doubt that my principal cares for his teachers, no doubt that he works hard, no doubt that he goes to work everyday to to the best job he can, just as his teachers do. But just like his teachers, I suspect that he no longer has the time or energy to stop and reflect on his role and the impact it’s having on his staff… because without the time to reflect, without a time or place to share and support each other, we cannot fully invest in what is truly important – providing the best learning environment for our students.

  • Cheryl Wolff November 23, 2015 at 3:04 am

    I think it is a shame that so many teachers are teaching under a bad principal. The principal is the one who sets the tone for the entire school. There are so many evaluations on teachers. Why are there not more safeguards for bad principals? I taught under a controlling, ineffective teacher for years. I finally retired from teaching years before I would have just because of the principal.

  • Laure November 28, 2015 at 7:56 am

    It would be nice to be listened to. When there is a real problem, it is just brushed off. It makes me feel like my students are not important, because they are special education students.

    • Rebecca Gunder December 6, 2015 at 2:18 am

      ReL Laure says
      November 28, 2015 at 7:56 am

      “It would be nice to be listened to. When there is a real problem, it is just brushed off. It makes me feel like my students are not important, because they are special education students.”

      Sadly, I learned this several years ago.

  • John Rizal Hasan December 8, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Good writting.I have spoken to my colleges and I found out that the same perspectives about how the Principal should act meet with points in this writting.
    Thank you for this very inspiring writting.

  • yvonne December 19, 2015 at 3:46 am

    Great article! I wish I could send this to my principal. I do not feel comfortable telling her. She is not someone you can tell these things to.

  • Imogen December 19, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing this post . A number of things rang true with me, and others will ring true with other people. It’s good to read how we’re all in this together and share a similar plight just packaged differently.

  • Daphney February 5, 2016 at 7:18 am

    What an insightful and truthful post that I feel no one understands but teachers. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It’s nice to know there is someone telling our plight. Great post.

    • Shelly Rees February 5, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Thank you so very much. I truly appreciate your kind words!

  • Linda February 12, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you. I wish every principal and superintendent and board would read.

  • Carolyn February 12, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Teachers around the world resonate with this

  • Lei M February 26, 2016 at 8:41 am

    I appreciate this article and your time in organizing the data and writing it. It was interesting to read everybody’s comments so far. I have to acknowledge both sides that were argued however as an elementary school classroom teacher, I am always going to be connected to those others who are also down in the trenches. I noticed someone else had written that. For me it had gotten to a point where I have acknowledged the fact that I cannot change a system that has been in need of serious change for quite a long time by voicing my opinions to be consequentially reprimanded. . However, I can control my reactions to situations I don’t agree with and put my energy, time and abilities (as we all do already!!) with the needs of my students.

  • Steve April 9, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    So true! Thanks for writing this.

    Steve

  • Sarah April 14, 2016 at 1:33 am

    Well said! Experiencing every one of these issues and really questioning my profession. Thank you for sharing!

  • Tx.Teacher April 24, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    A position does not make a leader. A leader leads by action. Also,a qualification does not make an individual component. The key is to get people to exceed the expectations. Leaders must establish relationshipsand invest in their team. Most of all utilize their greatest resources. Teachers are the greatest resources. Teamwork majestic the dream work.

  • RhondaT June 10, 2016 at 3:49 am

    I just completed my first year as principal in the elementary school where I taught children for 19 of my 31 years in education. Reflect on my practice at the close of the school year and already gearing up for the next, I researched “elementary principal” on Pinterest and found a link to this post. I read the entire article and all the comments quite intently because I want to know how teachers view their administrators and the desires they have for good working relationships. I appreciate the work you put in to compiling and sharing these sentiments with others. I am sure it has helped quite a few educators feel at least a little less isolated in their frustrations with teams that lack trust, among other issues.
    I repeatedly tell the faculty and staff at my school (I use the term, “my,” simply to denote the particular school in which I work and not to imply it belongs to me) that I know and understand how we all work very, very diligently to give our students the best education possible. I remember my days in the classroom. I will never forget them. (Honestly, I do not appreciate when someone insinuates that I have forgotten them.) But, here is something I have not said: we all work differently. My work does not look the same as teachers’ work. Nor should it. And just as there are many things a teacher does that his/her students do not and will not see, there are as many things that administrators do that teachers do not and will not ever see. Just like teachers, I would love to have an uninterrupted time each day to plan and/or accomplish the tasks that can’t be done while others need my attention. And yet, I have made a commitment to myself to be available for teachers, students, and parents first…even when facing the disdain of one teacher because I was busy helping another.
    All in all, I think #1 sums it up: It still comes down to trust, doesn’t it? This truth has to go both ways, however. I have to trust “my” teachers to be true professionals just as they must trust me to be a true professional. True professionals hold themselves to high standards of behavior, including respectful actions toward coworkers, students, parents, and they maintain a solid work ethic in spite of constraints.
    I am sincerely sorry for the educators who must work for and with administrators who do not value them or their efforts. At one time, in another school, I felt my administrator did not value my efforts. When I finally spoke to her about it, I found my perceptions were wrong. Communication was the key there – both on her part and mine. I understand, though, that some of your readers do not feel secure in addressing such issues with their principals.
    I truly hope my faculty and staff do not feel this way about me. I’m fearful of finding out, but I do believe I will ask, because I do not want them to ever feel towards me the way the teachers in your post and comments feel toward their principals.
    Thanks again for sharing.

    • RhondaT June 10, 2016 at 3:54 am

      *Reflecting on my practice…*
      I proofread my comment and still made a mistake!
      If anyone finds another, or another…please forgive me. It’s late, and I am up past my bedtime.

      • Shelly Rees June 11, 2016 at 1:19 am

        I didn’t even catch this myself when I read your response. No worries!

    • Shelly Rees June 11, 2016 at 1:19 am

      Thank you so much for your very thoughtful reply! It is great to have insight from an administrator who has seen the reality of both jobs. I think that your point about an administrator’s job does not look like a teacher’s job and vice versa is a very valid one. As teachers, it can be easy to sometimes look at things only from the perspective of what we do, and I’m sure it can be the same for administration. I agree that mutual trust truly is where the solution can be found.
      Once again, thanks so very much for a well-constructed response which made me think a little deeper about this issue. I wish you a great summer as you prepare for you next school year!

  • Martin July 11, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Thanks, I enjoyed the list… made me think.

    Could you now please ask principals the same thing they want their teachers to know? That would be helpful for me as well. I’m currently a principal of a high school.

  • Karen Fletcher November 23, 2016 at 1:22 am

    As I read through this post in its entirety, reposted by Principal Kefele, it has given me much to chew and regurgitate on. As an aspiring Principal (currently an Assistant Principal at the Elementary level), I am so thankful to have read this post as I reflect upon my current practices as an administrator. One thing for sure is I have room to grow as I continue to value and validate our teachers. My number one priority is student growth (academically, behaviorally and socially)…supporting the whole child. I truly realize this will not happen to its fullest until teachers are supported as described in this blog (19 Things Teachers Want Their Principal to Know). With that said, I say thanks to all who were willing to share from both sides of the fence,

  • Amanda November 23, 2016 at 4:15 am

    This is a great list. As a current elementary principal, it was great to reflect on this list. I strive to remember the teacher’s perspective. It’s impossible to understand another’s perspective until you’ve walked in their shoes. I agree with each of these points, but I also admit falling short at times. Principals have been teachers (hopefully), but teachers have never been principals. The lense can change slightly. The overall key is… “What is best for students?” If you (as teacher or principal) are doing what is best for students, then you are on the right track.

  • Jill Henrichsen December 7, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Thank you for this. I am in tears every other day. My principal is leaving after this year, but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make it until May.

    • Shelly Rees December 8, 2016 at 4:16 am

      I’m so sorry to hear that. Please know that you are worth more than one person’s opinion. Stay positive and remind yourself of all your good qualities daily. You can do it!

    • HoosierTeacher December 11, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      You can do it! Hang in there, take care of yourself. Plan something fun every month to look forward to: a massage in January, a movie with a friend in February, a craft show in March, etc.

      Your new principal next year may be PHENOMENAL and you don’t want to miss out on it. Besides, if you leave now, your students will have to suffer the lousy principal the rest of the year without you there.

      Cry when you need to and then lift your chin and prepare for battle. You’ve got winter break and spring break and it will go quickly.

      (hug)

      • Jill Henrichsen December 12, 2016 at 2:49 am

        Thank you for the comments. I’m trying to hang on. Let’s just say some of the ridiculousness and witch hunt is now affecting my physical health as well as emotional. But comments like yours help a lot. I know I’m worth more than one person’s opinion, but when she has HR on speed dial for “non-things” and she cc’s all of HR and the Superintendent for nothing when she is replying with a handslap for something that is not even unprofessional or wrong (such as trying to let the staff know of a new vile term that is going around and some teachers may not even know it’s a vile term – and I didn’t even use the term in the email. Apparently, communicating with staff members is something to come down on me for and now I am not allowed to send a staff email with her approving a draft of it first), it starts to get to you. Headaches every day and crying. I threw up twice over the weekend after I stood outside my door helping an emotionally compromised student calm down. I could hear my class and this student really flipped out. She shows up, I thought, to take him to the office and help him further. Instead, she sends him off alone, doesn’t let me back in my classroom and admonishes me loudly (kids could hear inside) for leaving my students alone when the situation called for calming that student down as a priority. . Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

  • Tammy July 6, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    We are all human, full of hope, anxiety, love, need for approval or validation, the desire to create and be effective, etc. I will be retiring in one year, I think, after 30 years in low SES schools. This is a highly engaging job, I love working with kids, its creative, difficult, and challenging. I think most teachers understand what their administrators have to deal with and respond accordingly.

    Over the past eight years, I have had the misfortune of working under someone who is possibly insane. The amount of undermining, very limited favoritism, lack of support, complete incompetence, dislike/distrust of students, all added up to a disaster. The school board finally got rid of the person. I never felt like I was going to lose my job, and did a lot of standing up for what was right. An incompetent admin can’t really fire you, because they usually don’t do the paperwork effectively. If an admin is after a strong teacher, who is highly effective, and trying to fire that teacher, we need internal policies to check on that. If a personality conflict is the reason, that is too bad for the admin. A highly effective teacher is worth keeping.

    My point is that, of course, teachers need to support and understand the whole hierarchy and system that they are a part of, but the quality of administrators seems to be diminishing. The people who go into the field seem to rush through the classroom years, and want to be a boss. This may work in the corporate world, but in education there is nothing more informative to the craft of teaching than experience. I believe that any administrator should have at least ten years of teaching in several grades. Also, maybe a craftily designed test to find out their integrity, honesty, and empathy!

    • Shelly Rees July 8, 2017 at 4:13 am

      Thank you so much for your heartfelt response. I am so sorry you have dealt with such a difficult situation for the past eight years. In situations like this, I don’t understand what takes a school board so long to respond. And I totally agree with your statement, “A highly effective teacher is worth keeping.” Yes, indeed!!!

  • Robin Scarrell August 21, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Seems that this is just basic professionalism and respect. Well stated.

  • Charlene Lepant January 14, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    I would love for you to do this same survey again. I am sure you will find the situation even worse. I know teachers that are mid way in their career and they desperately want out.

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    I'm Shelly Rees of Appletastic Learning. First and foremost, I'm a mom of 4 boys, wife of 25 years to Aric, and Wyoming girl at heart. I love being creative, making resources for teachers, baking cookies, Diet Coke, teaching, public speaking, and spreading kindness wherever I can. After teaching in the upper elementary grades for over 23 years, I retired early and focused on creating and helping teachers around the world with my teaching ideas and resources. I also serve as a mentor to hundreds of teacherpreneurs and help them get focused on growing their own successful businesses. With 100% honesty, I LOVE my life! Thanks for visiting! I hope you'll stay awhile and come back often. Read More

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