I don’t remember the exact question, from the interview I had for getting my Vice Principal job in Sturgeon School Division, but I do remember responding that my job was to be an advocate for the students. I knew that one of the things I had to do was ensure that they were receiving resources and programming that benefited them. The best programming available had to be accessed and provided. Over time, my perception of my job has shifted away from that to some degree when I became Principal., and for a while I was feeling that my job was to ensure that the needs of the staff was forefront in my mind.
This might seem like a huge shift that very much changes the focus of what I am expected to do. However, I think the two goals are VERY closely tied together. You can’t have students receiving top notch programs and services without staff who are feeling satisfied and respected for the difficult task they are assigned to do.
I have made posts before about the importance of valuing teachers and all staff in the school.
I have, as one of my roles, the opportunity to supervise a great staff, who are working to make sure students are learning. By supporting them in whatever way I can, with a goal to do what I can to make their job easier, I am absolutely supporting students. My support might involve finding and accessing outside resources. It might involve helping them find a new and better way of dealing with an issue. It might be about making sure that the equipment they have access to works in a way that won’t evoke anger or stress! Sometimes in might involve just listening to the frustrations they are experiencing.
Being an Instructional leader, oftentimes, is about being an instructional organizer. I am here to organize (administrate) the school in such a way that everyone is confident that Learning really does happen here. Every other Principal Quality Standard is in place to ensure that students are provided a great education. If that isn’t happening, we might as well stay home.
It’s a huge responsibility, but a great one to have.
(photo from Flickr Creative Commons)