Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities
In Your School- Do all stakeholders subscribe to the belief that EVERYONE has something to learn and EVERYONE has something to teach? This blog can help you gain insight on how to facilitate this transformative mindset with your faculty!

Jan 3, 2012

Thick-Skinned Principal

One of the things that I heard over and over before taking the plunge into administration was "You have to have thick skin!" I have been given similiar advice from many of my mentors over the years and I've read a ton of articles stressing the need to "not take things personally." I've heard friends of mine who are principals say things like, "I come to work every day with a ton of friends and a family who loves me so if I don't get that at work, I'm fine." I agree that administrators need to be able not to take things personally in order to survive the demands of our jobs, but I think it's dangerous not to care about how we're perceived by others. I recognize that there's no way we can make everyone happy, but I strongly believe that if we make decisions based on what's best for kids, we'll be better able to handle any resulting criticisms.

I think that the notion of adminstrators needing to "turn off their feelings" is unrealistic and frankly, not a smart idea. I think that a primary characteristic of a good administrator is a keen sense of empathy. I would never advise any leader not to show any feeling. People begin to view you as unapproachable and uncaring. Of course, you should never be overly-emotional or overly-sensitive when making decisions, but appropriately demonstrating disappointment, concern, sadness, joy, etc. shows others that you are down-to-earth and sensitive to the feelings of others. I truly believe that if you train yourself to become "feelingless" at work, you will see this sense of apathy creep into other aspects of your life. And nobody wants to to be viewed as robotic!

Good principals are sensitive, caring educators, not distant, unfeeling machines. People get upset at us for a reason. Even if we don't agree with or understand their anger, we should care enough to want to try and understand where these perceptions come from. Administators who turn off their feelings for the sake of self-preservation can miss out on the potential opportunity to assist others in what they may need to help them become a better contributor to the team. After all, we are all here for the same reason: to educate kids. I think a good principal is someone who is willing to sacrifice and "take one for the team" so to speak, in order to grow and help others, such as teachers and parents, so that they may be able to better help the student.

If we aren't willing to sometimes show vulnerability, we run the risk of becoming cold, jaded, and insensitive.

No comments:

Post a Comment