The path to the principalship is a hard one, and it’s not one that necessarily gets any easier once you’ve arrived.
Principals spend their days balancing a multitude of priorities: checking in with students, observing instruction, coaching teachers, and dealing with unpredictable issues that crop up.
Research has shown that schools are likely to have better teacher retention the longer a principal stays in that same school, but in a December 2021 survey, more than a quarter of principals said they plan to leave the profession in two to three years.
One way to mitigate departures from the profession is to prepare principals for the road ahead.
In a 2019 two-part series unpacking advice for new principals, Education Week asked four principals—some with more than a decade of experience in the job—to share some insights with their peers who are just starting out in the profession. Their recommendations ranged from recognizing that “it’s impossible to do it all” to the importance of being “emotionally vulnerable with your staff.”
We posed the same question to our Twitter followers, asking them to keep their responses to 6 words or less.
Here are their suggestions.
You’re only as good as your team
“Relationships, Relationships, Relationships!”
- Jeff B.
“Seek guidance from your Admin Team!”
“Delegate > micro-manage. Trust your teachers.”
- David D.
“Let teachers teach - trust the process!”
Educators encourage new principals to take time to slow down and plan, remember their “why,” and acknowledge that there is always room to grow.
“Listen, observe, REFLECT,...before implementing changes!”
- Renee B.
“Balance - the work is always there!”
- Holly G.
“Respect everyone’s time, including your own.”
- Olga R.
“Prioritize. Everything is important to someone.”
- John C.
“Remember what you believe in.”
- PJ C.
“You don’t need to know everything.”
“Build relationships, lead fearlessly, have fun!”
- Adam S.