The words, “Go to the principal’s office!” strike fear in students everywhere. When not playing the role of disciplinarian or wicked witch of the classroom hallway, principals have other important duties, and their duties fill up a typical school day two times over. These hardworking administrators certainly deserve being called “unrecognized heroes.” On top of their many administrative duties, principals are at heart teachers, always willing to help a needy student.
Principals are the CEOs of schools. They manage day-to-day operations to keep their schools on track. The most important job for the principal is to make sure that students are learning and students are progressing as they should. They do this by monitoring the state tests scores that students take. Although the school day is pretty set and teachers know when to show up and what to do, principals still provide oversight. They make sure that the teachers are prepared and have their lesson plans complete, and they deal with performance issues. In addition to staff issues, principals also perform other administrative tasks, such as budgeting, finance planning and scheduling.
Public Relations Ambassador
Principals are not marketing gurus, but when it comes to promoting their schools, they have to be front-and-center. When schools are in the news, for good or bad reasons, the principal is the spokesperson. They represent the school in the community. Principals attend school board meetings and Parent Teacher Association meetings to answer questions about school activities and to be ambassadors for the school. Anybody seeking to become a school principal needs to invest in a wardrobe that transitions easily from the office to a committee meeting, because you are definitely on the go at all times.
Whether working in a public school or private school, there never seems to be enough money to do everything that a principal wants to do for the school. In order to get more money for band uniforms, prom decorations and extra balls for the soccer team, a principal has to work her charms. Principals can be found selling hot dogs at football games, washing cars or sitting on a rickety plank in a dunking booth. It’s all in a day’s work for the principal who wants one of those big cardboard checks for the school.
Okay, let’s face it, at the end of the day maybe the most important job of the principal is to strike fear in the hearts of class clowns everywhere. When not doing a million other tasks, principals sit in wait at their desks for the poor slob who gets sent to the principal’s office. Once the offender gets to the office, they receive a tongue lashing or worse a forced vacation. Principals back up teachers when it comes to controlling and disciplining students. If the situation warrants it, they meet with the student’s parents to get their help in corralling bad behavior.
Adele Burney started her writing career in 2009 when she was a featured writer in "Membership Matters," the magazine for Junior League. She is a finance manager who brings more than 10 years of accounting and finance experience to her online articles. Burney has a degree in organizational communications and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College.