Surviving bullies. Tips for teachers bullied by teachers

Posted on Wed, May 22, 2013 @ 08:05 AM

bulliesBullying incidents between students are well publicized. Less often though do we hear about the more discreet experience of professionals who suffer at the hands of a colleague. Statistics on the number of bullied teachers are hard to come by, but a 2010 study reveals that one in three teachers claim to have been bullied at school.

Many of us rack our brains trying to figure out why bullies do what they do. Are they threatened by us? Jealous, maybe? Do they victimize us because they were once victims? Trying to figure out “why” is exhausting and more often than not, futile. What you can control is how you react and whether or not you inadvertently feed a bully’s motivations. Below you will find a few strategies to help you disarm bullies.

Make an abrupt exit
Bullies count on their victim’s politeness and exploit it. There are simple ways that you can still be courteous and assertive. You may need to tailor your response to the situation, but try a variation on one of the below responses. In the middle of the confronter’s sentence, calmly and without emotion say, 

“Excuse me, but I am expecting a phone call.”

“I’d like to talk more about this, but now is not a good time.”

If the confronter calms down and agrees to speak later, set up a specific time to speak. If he or she continues talking, calmly make your exit and say, “I’ll plan on speaking to you tomorrow at the agreed time.”

Why ask “Why?”
A more assertive approach is to repeatedly ask “Why?” You’ll want to vary the phrasing, but here are a few examples:

“What makes you say that?”
“I hear what you’re saying, but can you help me understand more?”
“When did you start feeling this way?”
“Can you be more specific about ________?”
“Can you define what you mean by ____________?”

Turn a one-sided confrontation into a conversation that you can continue to control with Socratic questions.

Use reflective listening techniques
Most psychologists use reflective listening techniques for a couple of reasons. First, because they let the client know that the psychologist is paying attention; second, they provoke clients into further developing their thoughts. All you have to do is paraphrase what the bully said and repeat it back to him or her.

“So what I’m hearing you say is that…”
“So you believe that I should be doing…”
“I want to make sure that I understand: You’re saying that…”
“So you feel that…”

Things not to do

Don’t act defensive: Acting defensive suggests that you did something wrong.
Don’t be timid: Timidity suggests that you are insecure and can be easily manipulated.
Don’t be fooled: Accepting what a bully says at face value will make you appear naïve.


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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, bullied

Principals don’t need personas. They need authenticity.

Posted on Wed, May 08, 2013 @ 09:05 AM

principal authenticityHaving the responsibility of shaping a school, managing teachers, students and curriculum—and having to shouldering the blame when things go wrong—has led more than a few principals to project a persona. Principal or not, we all do this to some extent, of course. Under the pressure to succeed, under the pressure to “brand” ourselves with amenable qualities, we often fashion a version of ourselves that minimizes our blemishes and highlights only our best traits. Eventually though, false personas corrode and break down. That’s why we want to talk a bit about authenticity.

Know thyself
“What are some of your weaknesses?” This ubiquitous question shows up in nearly every interview. And while most of us have learned strategies to skirt the question, we believe principals should honestly reflect on their weaknesses. You may not necessarily want to share all of them in an interview, but having the ability to reflect critically on your shortcomings is an integral part of becoming an effective principal because it helps you assess where and when to seek help from others.

Learn to laugh at your blunders
Principals are under an incredible amount of scrutiny and that can make it hard to laugh. But taking yourself too seriously, denying or beating yourself up when you make a blunder is going to take a toll on you and your relationships. Self-deprecating humor is often the funniest. Laugh and laugh often.  

Be interested, not interesting
We’ve all spent time with someone who didn’t understand how the give and take of a conversation works. We’ve all gotten off the phone a half hour later and realized, “Wow. She didn’t ask me a single thing about myself.” We all have our moments, but try not to be that person on the other end of the telephone. Authentic principals ask questions and are focused on being interested, not interesting.

Don’t surround yourself with yea-sayers
Praise and concession sure feels nice, but it amounts to little if it is coming from those who offer it out of fear or flattery. Connect with other educational leaders who aren’t personally invested in your school. It’s helpful to have mentors who are encouraging but who also aren’t afraid to give you a perspective that’s different from your own.

Accept that you cannot do this alone
You may think that you have to do it all—and certainly you have an overwhelming amount of responsibilities—but trying to do it all on your own is impossible; and it could have the effect of making you look like a control freak or worse—take a toll on your health. Let your “army” of intelligent and perfectly capable teachers help you shoulder the burden. They may gain a better perspective of the scope of the issues you face too.

Schools benefit from authentic leaders—men and women who engage others and who are working toward authenticity. Being authentic has the added benefit of letting people know that while you’re tough and very capable, you are human too, and appreciate help and support from others.

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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, educational leaders, Role of Principal in School, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, New Principals

Getting Started Before You Start: 5 Tips for Educational Leaders

Posted on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 @ 09:04 AM

Taking over a school a couple weeks before the start of a new academic year does happen. More often than not, though, new educational leaders are hired months before they actually start their new position. You may still be teaching or, if you’re in a leadership role, tying up loose ends in another district. Regardless of your position, it is important to use this time wisely so that you can start building relationships—and your reputatioeducational leadersn—immediately. Here are a few ways to get started.

Getting Started Before You Start: 5 Tips for Educational Leaders

Say thank you
Once you’ve formally accepted the job as an educational leader, drop a note in the mail to show your enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity. It’s a simple, but important, first gesture. 

Work closely with your predecessor—if you can
Obviously we have no way of knowing the previous educational leader’s reasons for leaving. Perhaps she is retiring, changing districts, or worst case scenario, she’s been “asked to leave.” Whatever the reason, do everything you can to collaborate on a transitional plan with her. This might include scheduling times for you to visit classrooms or simply eat lunch with students and teachers once in a while. If you have obligations during the day, start attending sporting events in the evening, or service-learning activities on the weekends.  You might also try scheduling an evening meet-and-greet with parents, teachers, students and faculty.

Get your hands on a school yearbook and a staff directory
Learn the names of the teachers, staff and students before you start. The easiest way to learn their names is by getting your hands on a copy of last year’s yearbook and staff directory. Make flipping through these a daily ritual and you’ll have the entire school memorized well before you start.

Leave your old school out of it
This one will be especially pertinent when you assume full responsibility for the school, but we felt it was still worth mentioning. You may have been successful at your previous position and while this experience will certainly help shape your approach, you must find tactful ways to share your experience. And whatever you do, don’t say, “At my old school, we used to…”

Something else to avoid: showing surprise (or exasperation) when you learn how things are done at your new school. Why? These sorts of reactions give the impression that the way they do things may be somehow inferior.

Connect with other administrators in your district right away
You may have decades of experience in education, but what is your experience with this school and this district? Working with your predecessor is a fine start, but we also suggest connecting with other educational leaders in your district.

Photo credit: MassassiUK

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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, educational leaders, Role of Principal in School, Becoming an effective principal, aspiring school administrator, Online Master's in Educational Leadership

Social networking and education: reaching parents, all of them

Posted on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 @ 11:04 AM

Even if you’ve only spent a few short minutes around young folks, you know that they are enamored by technology—and so are an increasing number of teachers.  Administrators, too, are beginning to see the benefits of coupling social networking and education. Twitter feeds, Facebook updates, and text messages sent in multiple languages give schools the ability to update parents about their schools and students with the click of a few buttons. This is exciting for all of us, but how do we ensure that all parents, particularly those who are economically challenged, have access to the technology necessary to communicate with them? We’d like to offer a couple of solutions.

Social Networking and Education: reaching parents, even those with economic challenges

social networking and educationApply to is a non-profit that specializes in technology for education. Donation offerings are updated every day and the quality and range of items may surprise you. In the two minutes we spent browsing the list, we noticed a couple of refurbished Mac Books! The only thing they ask is that participating organizations who benefit from the service periodically contribute towards’s expenses (a minimum donation of $20 is expected). To apply for membership, click here.

Social Networking and TechnologyUse online fundraising sites
If doesn’t work out for you, give the global community a shot. Car washes, fundraisers, silent auctions and bake-offs are great, but they provide a limited amount of exposure. When you use online fundraising websites like DonorsChoose, AdoptAClassroom, GoFundMe and Chipin, you’re able to register your school and write about the things students, parents and classrooms need. Donors from around the world can search by location, school, teacher, etc., to find a cause that resonates with them.

social networking and education 3Providing Parents with Internet Access
Now that parents have their own home computer, how do we get those who can’t afford it online? One option is to look into a Comcast program called Internet Essentials. After Comcast acquired NBC Universal earlier in 2011, an FCC-mandated requirement was that the cable giant offer cheap Internet access to low-income households. Families who qualify will be able to sign up for 1.5-Mbps Internet access for a mere $9.95 a month. Customers may also be eligible for a computer that costs only $150 and free Internet training. To qualify, users must:

  • Be located where Comcast offers Internet service
  • Have at least one child receiving free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program
  • Not have subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days
  • Not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment

For those who do not qualify for Comcast or live in an area where Comcast service is not available, here is a list of other low-cost (some are even free) Internet service providers:




Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, Best Apps for Educators, apps for educators, Becoming an effective principal, aspiring school administrator, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, New Principals, social networking and education

Interview strategies for the aspiring school administrator

Posted on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 @ 16:01 PM

school administrators interviewThe Internet is brimming with “top 10s” and “useful tips and tricks” for acing your upcoming interview. But in our experience, once you’ve read one, you’ve kind of read them all—not to mention the fact that few, if any, of them are custom-tailored to fit the kind of scenario facing the aspiring school administrator.

Recently, however, we came across a set of interview strategies by Dr. William Sterrett, an assistant professor at University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Finally, one set of interview strategies worth reading!

We’ve only recounted two of the nine questions you should plan on being asked during your big interview, but aspiring school administrators can find the complete list here. To help you prepare your answers, Sterrett has offered an explanation for the rationale behind the questions and things to consider as you formulate your answers.

Interview strategies for the aspiring school administrator

 1.)    How might you describe effective instruction?

  1. Rationale behind the question:  Some interview questions may be broad and open-ended; this one serves as an example.   Principals must serve as learning leaders; this question addresses this role.
  2. How you might approach the question: Be clear and succinct.  Don’t filibuster.  You may want to consider framing a bit of theory (such as through the lens of student engagement, instructional strategies, etc.) through a practical lens (describe what this might look like in the particular environment in which you wish to serve).  Be specific: what would this look like in a second grade math classroom?  If you are applying for a secondary vacancy, what might you look for in an AP Chemistry class?   

 2.)    How will you support a safe and effective school learning environment?

  1. Rationale behind the question: It is safe to expect to receive some sort of “discipline” or “climate” question that is geared toward better understanding your approach to issues you will surely face.  School safety is at the forefront of today’s discussions related to education, and a school community will want a leader that is focused on a safe learning environment. 
  2. How you might approach the question: As with all answers, be realistic, honest, and describe approaches that will enable you to help lead a community of learners.   You might discuss a particular school-wide strategy that has worked, recount a specific case where your leadership and/or action made a difference, and describe how you will work with teachers, students, and parents to create a learning-centered climate. 

You can read the rest of Sterrett’s article here.

If you’re interested in enhancing your credentials or taking your career in education to the next level, stop by our site to learn more about Marygrove College’s Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program. And just so you know, Educational Leadership is only one of several online degree and certificate programs that you can pursue at your pace and on your terms.


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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, aspiring school administrator, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, New Principals

Becoming an Effective Principal: 5 Do's and Don'ts

Posted on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 @ 09:01 AM

new principalsYou’ve studied curriculum design and implementation; you’ve been in the classroom; you’re passionate about students and education and you’re a self-proclaimed leader. This is a start, but if you want to be an effective principal, you might want to consider a few of these dos and don’ts.

Becoming an Effective Principal: 5 Do's and Don'ts

Do Park your car as far away from the building as it takes you to walk off your attitude
This is a good piece of advice for any professional, but it is especially relevant for new and aspiring principals. Your attitude sets a precedent for the rest of the school, so when you walk into the office, scowl or give a half-hearted hello to the staff and students, count on it resonating—and not in a way you want it to.

A poor attitude is contagious: When teachers start to sign in for the day, they’re going to be greeted by the same staff that you scowled at, the same folks who are murmuring amongst themselves about you. That’s why author, principal and veteran educator Patricia Buoncristiani suggests that you park as far away from the entrance of the building as it will take you to walk off your case of the Monday blues. This is one of those obvious, but not-so-obvious pieces of advice we all need to take.

Don’t adhere to fads. Ask yourself, “Does the school really need a technology overhaul?”
These days, there’s very little cash to throw around—which means that you’re going to have to get creative if you want to give your school a technology facelift. But before you make all of your classrooms SMART, realize that teachers can teach, and have been doing a fine job of it for hundreds of years, without state-of-the-art equipment.

For those teachers who “need” upgrades, have them draft a self-evaluation/proposal where they detail how they currently use technology in the class. Additionally, have them describe how technology will enhance their curriculum and list the software/hardware they are interested in. If you need more creative ways to fund your school’s technology program, check out one of our previous blogs here.

become a student-interventionist

Any principal worth his or her salt subscribes to the notion that all students—regardless of their socioeconomic status, race or gender—are capable learners. In addition to this, they know how and when to intervene to ensure that it happens.

You can’t choose your students, their socioeconomic status or their parents. All you can do is meet students where they are—not where you think they should be.

try to be a rugged individualist

You may think that you have to do it all—and certainly you have an overwhelming amount of responsibilities—but don’t try to be a rugged-individualist. We’re saying this for a few reasons: First, it’s impossible. Second, because it will make you look like a control freak. Third, because you have any army of intelligent and perfectly capable teachers who can help you shoulder the burden.

If you assign a specific, task-savvy adult to handle every anticipated melodrama—crumbling drywall, for example, or a flock of birds who has made a nest in the rafters of the gym—you can spend your time on “big-picture” issues. Quick fixes may make you look good, but you’ll be doing yourself a disservice when you stay mired in perfunctory disruptions.

learn your students’ names—all of them
Zsa Zsa Gabor once said, "I call everyone 'Darling' because I can't remember their names."
This may have worked for Zsa Zsa, but it won’t work for you. If you’re going to get serious about developing relationships and advocating for students, you’ll need to get to know them. All of them. “But I’m not good with names,” you say. We’ve got an app for that!

If you need to learn your students’ names, all it takes is a smart phone, $4.99, and a little app called Attendance2. This app was originally intended for teachers as a way to streamline the attendance-keeping process. But you’ll be using the built-in flashcard function, which allows you to snap a photo of your students, add their name and any other necessary details and file it away so you can quiz yourself later on.


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Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, effective principal, Role of Principal in School, Becoming an effective principal, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, New Principals

5 Tips to Make Your Collaborative Learning Plans Effective

Posted on Tue, Jan 08, 2013 @ 15:01 PM

Collaborative learningAs psychologists and behavioral experts discover more about the various learning modalities and "how students learn," more and more schools are starting to use collaborative learning platforms as a part of their day-to-day classroom routine.

A well-organized collaborative learning process allows students to work together, using each other’s' strengths to overcome collective weaknesses. Ideally, students are then able to take ownership of their learning experience and being teaching one another. But there’s a fine line between successful learning groups and classroom-wide chaos. We believe that creating an effective, collaborative learning environment takes planning, so here are 5 tips to help you keep the chaos at bay!

5 Tips to Make Your Collaborative Learning Plans Effective

    1. Classroom Setup. Students learn best when their environment is comfortable, but still structured and organized. If you have a traditional classroom set up with rows of desks, any attempt at group work will end up in a mess of student clusters on the floor, on top of desks, and excessive wandering.

      Ideally, desks should be set up in clusters so students have a "real" place to sit, are facing each other, and can easily communicate. You will also be able to tell which groups are on track and which aren't. If you can get your hand on round or oval tables, those work too.

        2. Process-oriented learning. Try to create assignments where the group learning process is the primary focus and the “right” answers are either secondary or possibly even irrelevant.Students are less apt to contribute or share if they feel at risk for looking incompetent.

          Use these opportunities for students to work on discussion, analysis, process, and/or correlation skills—activities where they learn to develop deeper thinking/learning skills without attachment to the outcome.

            3. Everybody is accountable. One reason students learn to loathe group learning assignments is because one student always feels like s/he does all the work. And then there’s the classic case of the one student who didn't do anything at all but still gets credit. Effective collaborative learning happens when everyone is accountable somehow. You can create group tests which are harder than traditional tests so students are forced to work together to achieve a collective finished product. Circulating around the room will allow you to pay attention to who isn't participating and then encourage him/her to begin contributing.  Allowing the group to grade each otheris another way to suss out who is working and who isn't.
              4. Peer teaching. We all know that teaching is the best way to thoroughly learn something, so create opportunities which allow students to teach each other. Pair higher-level students with lower-level students, create harder problems or discussions that require group engagement to work through the solutions, or assign chapters to groups of twos or threes and make them teach their lesson on a scheduled date. This allows everyone to be a part of the give-and-take process involved in teaching and learning.
                5. Group selection. You should control the groups and pairs that work together at all times. They don't have to be the same all the time, but in order for students to work well together, there needs to be the right balance of varying skill levels and personalitytypes. By assigning the groups, and potentially assigning particular jobs to each member, you will see a marked improvement in the overall collaborative learning process. It can be a good idea to check in with students before class to assess their mood, allow them to vent a little, and get the class into a more settled mindset before beginning the group work. You may want to come up with general rules and guidelines for how groups should communicate/behave.

                  Once you get your collaborative learning groups off and running, they will become a regularly requested element of your classroom design.


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                  Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, student engagement, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, Developing Teachers, collaborative learning

                  Dos and Don’ts for funding your school’s classroom technology program

                  Posted on Tue, Nov 06, 2012 @ 09:11 AM

                  students working with classroom technologyEconomic downturn has a far-reaching arm, one that’s forcing schools, like most companies, to reevaluate their classroom technology budgets. Students love technology—no, actually, they demand it—and many teachers and principals are equally as enthusiastic about it. They’ve seen how students respond to touch-based math apps that make a high-stakes subjects like math fun again. They’ve also seen how classroom technology like infographics and clickers can enhance lectures and how simple social networking tools like Twitter can help improve both student and parent engagement. But as you try to improve your school’s classroom technology infrastructure and stay within your budget, we thought principals might consider these Dos and Don’ts:

                  Dos and Don’ts for funding your school’s classroom technology program

                  Don’t necessarily give every classroom a technological overhaul
                  Smart classrooms are all the rave, but not all teachers crave projectors and ELMOs for their classroom. Resist fads. Resist the notion that more technology = more learning and higher test scores. Resist feeling that every classroom needs to be technology-equipped and SMART.

                  If, for example, Mrs. Snell and Mr. Ableton only show YouTube clips or give Power Point presentations in their classrooms once a week, why overhaul their classroom when they could probably get by sharing a portable media cart?

                  Before you make a blanket purchase, figure out what teachers can and can’t live without and ask them to write up a self-evaluation/proposal. In it, have them give you a detailed account of how they currently use technology in the classroom. Next, have them tell you how and why they would like to use new technology in the classroom; additionally, have them identify the hardware and software that they are interested in. 

                  Do make computers available outside of class for all students
                  Most students have at least one computer at home—and for those families with economic challenges, many schools have computer-loan programs. That’s great, but having a single computer for a family of three, four or five is sort of like having a single bathroom: there are going to be lines and fights over hot water. 

                  To ensure that students always have computer access, make it a priority to have a computer lab where students can go before and after class, maybe even on the weekends. Depending on student need, you might even try running an open-lab for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday. You might even experiment with an overnight laptop-loan system. Many schools have used this to great success.

                  Don’t stop getting creative
                  We’ve written about online fundraising sites in the past, but they’re worth bringing up again. When your budget is stretched thin, use the Internet and reach out to the global community. Car washes, fundraisers, silent auctions and bake-offs are great, but they provide a limited amount of exposure. When you use websites like DonorsChoose, AdoptAClassroom, GoFundMe and Chipin, your able to register your classrooms and write about the things students (or classrooms) need. Donors from around the world can search by location, school, teacher, etc, to find a cause that resonates with them. You, your teachers and their students can tell people to donate to their class or create a Facebook account—whatever it takes to get people to your website who will adopt your class.

                  Do reach out to local communities and businesses
                  When I was in high school, my biology teacher wanted to start a one-for-one program where every desk in his classroom was computer equipped. It was a private school with limited funding, so instead of appealing to the principal (or the parents), he reached out to as many local businesses as he could to see if they had any spare computers they’d like to donate. The response was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, one telemarketing company ended up donating 50 computers (along with hardware accessories like monitors, printers and keyboards). The only thing he had to do was enlist a helper (me) to carry the computers down a few flights of stairs. Not a bad deal, huh?

                  You might be interested in becoming an educational technologist; maybe you want to become a principal and are considering a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership. Perhaps you are interested in professional development or classroom technology and would like to earn a Master’s in the Art of Teaching. Whatever the case may be, Marygrove College has several online masters’ programs tailored to fit your needs—and your wallet!


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                  Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, Instructional Technology Graduate Programs, Technology in the Classroom, classroom technology, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, Master's in Educational Technology Online, New Principals

                  5 Steps to Becoming an Effective Principal

                  Posted on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 @ 09:10 AM

                  principal in classroomWhat makes an effective principal? This question used to have a fairly standard answer: an individual who serves as a mentor and inspiration to educational staff and students, and addresses the concerns of the parents in his/her educational community. While all of the above still holds true, there are incredibly complex dynamics which have been woven into those components—meeting the needs of diverse student populations, implementing ever-increasing special education requirements, and facing the public's growing dissatisfaction with the public school paradigm, to name a few.

                  In her article, What New (Young) Principals Need to Know, Joanne Rooney discusses the challenges facing new principals and how they can rise above them.

                  5 Steps to Becoming an Effective Principal

                  1. Recognize the power of relationships
                    By working to build successful relationships at all levels of the educational pyramid, principals achieve two key things: a support network and a deep understanding of the needs and perspectives of those they work with. There’s no doubt about it: paperwork has increased ten-fold in past decades, which makes it easy for a new principal to become a title and a face behind a desk. But it's important to get out there and meet the teachers, fellow administrators, students, parents, and staff. Be able to address them on a first name basis as much as possible and make sure they know who you are and what you stand for.

                  2. Learn how to listen
                    In most cases, principals were former teachers—and teachers like to talk. We're used to handing out the rules, the lessons, explaining, helping others understand. This well-intentioned habit isn't all that effective at the principal level. Effective principals learn how to truly listen to others' words and the emotional intent behind them. Ask questions of teachers and students and then work to understand their answers and viewpoints, even if you don't always agree or aren't able to offer them their first-choice solutions. Never forget to listen to your secretary. S/he is often the most in tune with the energetic pulse of your school and its community.

                  3. "Let me think about it"
                    The phrase, "let me think about it and get back to you," is not only a legitimate response, it is often the wisest course of action. We all know the squeaky wheel gets the oil, but what if your actions are actually just "knee-jerk-reactions" to the complaints, opinions, and input of the few? An effective principal knows that data and informational input—both informal and formal—needs to be objectively reviewed before a final judgment can be made.

                  4. Find your mentor(s)
                    If you don't have one already, it's important for new principals to find a mentor with whom they can confide and whose wise input they trust. The best mentor is often another effective principal - whether current or former - who understands the demands of the job and has "been there.” Equally valuable is to select a group of principal peers who understand where you're coming from and can help to legitimize your feelings, experiences, and frustrations.

                  5. Be willing to de-prioritize "The Standards"
                    This is not to say standards and bureaucratic protocol aren't important or valuable, but rather that they will be difficult to implement if you don't have a general foundation of understanding, familiarity and respect amongst your colleagues. Effective leadership requires a mutual respect and willingness to cooperate from the ones you are leading. By focusing on the first four tips, policies and procedures will fall into place more naturally.

                  At the end of the school day, cultivating mutual understanding and trust will allow your leadership strategies to be successful - making you a more effective principal.


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                  Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, Becoming an effective principal, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, New Principals

                  5 Effective Time Management Tips for Principals

                  Posted on Tue, Oct 09, 2012 @ 10:10 AM

                  Stressed PrincipalIt’s surprising that more principals don't insist on comfortable, high-quality memory foam sofa beds in their office. By the time you factor in the hours spent before work and after work trying to catch up on all the work you can't do while you' work, your personal life can become a mere blip on the radar. But that’s not how it should be—at least not all the time. How can principals be outstanding at their job without sacrificing their entire sense of self? Three words: Effective Time Management.

                  In an article written for Education World, Gary Hopkins has—with the help of more than a dozen principals across the country—compiled a list of effective time management tips for principals. We’ve boiled it down to what we feel are the 5 essentials.

                  5 Effective Time Management Tips for Principals

                  1. Do, Delegate, or Dump? One of the first steps in focusing your priorities is to decide what things need to be done by you, what can be delegated to someone else, or what needs to just be dumped altogether. Step back from your daily routine and habits, and see what is really working and what's detracting from productivity potential. No principal is an island, so you might even ask for input from a trusted secretary or colleague. You might be able to isolate non-essential activities that are wasting precious time.

                  2. Keep Priorities a Focus. Once you have skimmed the unnecessary fat from your daily routine, make sure to keep priorities an overarching focus. If doing 5-minute classroom walk-thrus are a priority for you, then do them. If you receive an unexpected phone call or drop-in visitor beforehand, politely and graciously explain you have a previously scheduled engagement and let them email you to re-establish a time that will work.

                  3. Satellite Offices. It's hard to remain visible around campus and keep up with all the in-office work you are responsible for. If you can find a way to create "satellite offices" on campus, you may be able to do both at the same time. Think of all the time you spend online. Does your campus have a computer room - or perhaps several? Pop in and use one of the school's computer's to catch up on work, visit with some students, and be available to the variety of teachers passing through. Grab a "to-do" paperwork file from your desk, find an empty classroom desk, and work in the hallway once in a while. Students will love it, teachers will stop and chat, and you can maximize the best of both worlds.

                  4. Delegate. So this was a component of #1 but it's so important it deserves its own number. You absolutely must learn to trust others to do their job and recognize that their way is just as good as yours, even if it's different. Consider putting a "Leadership Team" together, based on volunteers (so you know they want to help) and then meet regularly to delegate work to interested and willing helpers.

                  5. Close the Door. Visibility is important, but equally important is uninterrupted time. Set very clear, regular (so your secretary gets used to it) blocks of time where you are absolutely not to be interrupted for any non-emergency situation. Whether you need to catch up on e-mail, eat something (heaven forbid!), or return phone messages, you'll enjoy having a host of things checked off your list-of-things-to-do.

                  Really, it all comes down to balance. Don't jump on the cultural "do everything" bandwagon because it's impossible. Just focus on the essentials; the more you're able to cull the time wasters, the more productive and energetic you will be.


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                  Topics: Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership Degree, Educational Leadership Master's Programs, Role of Principal in School, Online Master's in Educational Leadership, New Principals, time management tips for educators

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