A Remarkable Instructional Leader

School principals talk about the way they achieve excellence at their schools.

The classroom teacher is the most visible person in the life of the pupil at school, but it is the principal who is responsible for providing quality education for all pupils in the school.  Principals vary in strategy, temperament and leadership style, but the remarkable ones have characteristics in common.  They take responsibility for school success, lead teaching and learning, develop excellent teachers and build a strong school community relationship.  They speak about leadership and how they meet real-life challenges of their jobs.

Remarkable principals believe that the problems of the school are their problems, and they never stop trying to solve them.  If a pupil or teacher is having  trouble in learning/teaching, a successful principal knows it is his/her job to figure out why, whether it is  a learning/ teaching disability, trouble with attendance or gang involvement.  They are also creative in their problem –solving and they approach challenges with an entrepreneurial attitude.  They find ways to solicit and implement good ideas rather than accept the status quo.

As observed, public schools today specifically    elementary have limited budget due to the overwhelming number of pupils in the entire country making it difficult to acquire for innovative programs, to provide teaching/learning materials and have a problem of sending teachers  to trainings and pupils to contests.  He doesn’t waste time lamenting the lack of funding.  He gets busy thinking of who in the community he can ask for support.  He has created partnership with the LGU and other community stakeholders to assist the school’s academic and non-academic performance.

Whatever challenges they face, remarkable principals don’t make excuses why their schools can’t succeed.  Instead they make it their top priority to figure out how their schools can excel and do everything they can to make that happen.

Principals of performing schools understands the strengths and needs of pupils as well as teachers and they know what is happening in the classrooms at their schools.  These instructional leaders play an active role in planning and supporting instruction that is appropriate for their pupils and they ensure that school time and resources are focused on pupil achievement.

One of a principal’s most important role is ensuring that every pupil is taught by an excellent teacher. They support and develop the teachers.  Research shows that principal leadership is a key factor in a teachers’ decision to stay at a particular school.  Much of a principal’s time should be spent in classrooms observing teachers, complimenting their strengths and giving suggestions for improvement.  If a teacher has difficulty with a particular teaching method, strategy and technique of teaching, the principal helps the teacher develop more successful strategies.

Providing meaningful opportunities for professional development is another way principals can help teachers improve instruction.  They should make sure that workshops and other development activities are related to the goals of the school and will help teachers better serve their pupils.  Instructional managers must keep good teachers professionally satisfied by showing them that their efforts are valued and supported by the principal and other teachers. They should respect and recognize teachers’ hard work.

Provide time to plan with other teachers is another way principals can support their teachers and treat them as professionals.

For a school to be successful, the administration, teachers, parents and pupils must work as a team.  Make school a welcoming place for all pupils and their families. Hold consultative meetings with parents and stakeholders in the community.

A good school community is one where children feel safe and know they will be treated fairly.  It is the principal’s job to create that safe environment where children can learn-a child and eco-friendly school.

By Carlos G. Rara, SP II