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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

principals

principals

Related Tags: School Leadership
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Do principals need to have had teaching experience to be good leaders whats your opinion?

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Mrs. Leah Haynes's picture
Mrs. Leah Haynes
Seventh grade Literature and Grammar; Secondary World Geography

principals should most definitely have experience in the classroom. When it comes to making logical decisions based on workload (grading, planning, extra duties), a principal that does not have that experience can make some really asinine calls. Believe me...

Tish Jennings's picture
Tish Jennings
Working to help teachers improve classroom environments by promoting mindfulness

There are many reasons why it is helpful for a principal to have experience as a teacher. Teaching is a very challenging occupation and there's an artistry to it that is hard to understand unless you've spent time in the classroom. Also, teachers respect those who have had this experience.

Kathryn's picture

Do hospital administrators need to be doctors?
It is a whole different skill set that not everyone has whether they were a teacher or not. The main thing is that a good principal should have administrative, management, and leadership skills AND they have to understand teaching.

Delaine Macdonald's picture
Delaine Macdonald
Principal at Andrews Elementary School, Andrews, North Carolina Cherokee Co

This is a "no brainer" in my opinion. Of course principals should have teaching experience! This allows principals to be strong instructional leaders; to empathize with her/his staff; and to more effectively evaluate what is taking place in the classroom.

Dave's picture

But if you haven't taught, you don't understand teaching, except from reading a book.

Dave's picture

Principal's should definitely have teaching experience and more than just 1 or two years. It takes a minimum of five years to even become a good teacher, in my opinion. A person should not have another person's professional life in their hands unless they have actually done it for a significant time.

Michael Mitchell's picture

I don't think a Principal can be as effective as needed without spending time in the classroom. It doesn't mean that being in the classroom necessarily makes you an effective Principal either. However, teachers see through leaders who don't know what they are talking about when it comes to matters of instruction and classroom management.

Ms. Giraud's picture
Ms. Giraud
teacher of high school English and journalism

Definitely. A principal needs this experience to fully appreciate the many layers of teaching and the depths of responsibility a teacher has to integrity in teaching, managing students, engaging with parents, and continuing to develop in one's subject area and pedagogy. I feel the closer to the teaching experience a principal is, the better leadership she can offer. Ideally, a principal is still actually teaching a class to stay grounded in the realities and joys of the classroom.

Mrs. Deirdre L. Richie's picture

Yes, I believe principals should have teaching experience; not only do they need to have teaching experience, they NEED to have teaching experience at the elementary school level so they are in classrooms where they have to teach ALL SUBJECT areas! They also need to be required to return to teaching in the classroom for 1 year periodically throughout their principalships to remember how difficult is is to be IN the classroom ALL the time!

Steve Levin's picture
Steve Levin
High School Biology/AP Biology

Principals not only need to have real classroom experience (7 years or more) - but in the school district they are in...moreover, principals should be required to teach at least one section of classes each year. Just so they realize the challenges being faced by the teachers in the building day to day.

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