Our work as educational leaders is both challenging and rewarding. Stress levels amongst Principals and other educational leaders are high. In a further symptom of concern, applications for some Principal roles, especially in more demanding locations, are low.
Whilst retention of Principals in larger schools doesn’t appear to be a problem, attracting Principals to small schools is an issue.
Alarming statistics from California show both teacher and Principal retention are an issue. Leadership Coach, Elena Aguilar reports that in her district of Oakland, California, they lose a third of their teachers every year. After five years, only one in five teachers still remain.
Aguilar reports the turnover of principals is even higher — although it’s not tracked as carefully as teacher turnover. “We’re losing professional capital, institutional knowledge, and the ability to sustain change efforts; we also invest a lot of money into all kinds of things that we lose when we have such high turnover.”
One of the reasons for the high levels of stress and low morale is the nature of the work we do. We don’t work in factories, making widgets! We work with people and that means it is challenging and unpredictable. We are in the privileged position of having the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, each and every day. However with that opportunity come demands and the challenges of working with people.
No one ever quite knows what is going on in somebody else’s world. We don’t really know the challenges that our students, parents or staff have dealt with that morning or the previous evening. Perhaps there has been an argument, somebody in their household dealing with serious illness, financial pressures or other stressors. We don’t always know!
I believe there are FIVE factors that determine whether people (including teachers and Principals) will achieve job satisfaction:
1 Doing work that is important,
2 Feeling they make a difference,
3 Belonging and feel part of a team,
4 Being appreciated for what they do and
5 Having the confidence that they are good at what they do
Which of the FIVE do you struggle with?
Our work is important and does make a difference in the lives of both the families we work with and our staff. If you are not gaining a sense of satisfaction, I have two pieces of advice.
First, monitor your self-talk! What are you telling yourself about the work you do? Are you focusing on all of the problems and frustrations of the job or the opportunity to do important work that makes a difference in the lives of others.
If you have tried to monitor and correct your self-talk without success, I’d recommend planning your exit strategy. Spend some time thinking about what type of work you would rather be doing. You might need to use some leave time for some further study or voluntary work in that industry to see if it will give you a higher level of satisfaction.
The work we do takes a lot of woken hours. It is important for us that we get satisfaction from it.
It is also important to the families in our school that they have a leader who is passionate and committed to the best possible outcomes.
You Might Be Interested In
I loved the following blog posts and thought you would too…
Developing GRIT in students
Go to any educational conference these days, and you are bound to hear about “grit,” the term psychologists use to describe “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”
But how do we develop this trait in our students?
Reimagining School – Some interesting ideas from left field
The models are all different: In one successful school, kids help choose the lunch plan. In another, classes start at 10 a.m. (with less homework—and more field trips). And in a third school, physical education happens three times a day, instead of once a week.
Sound like items from a third grader’s wish list? Nope. These are initiatives from real schools where, instead of nibbling at the edges of curriculum and technology, administrators have embraced radically new approaches to the very idea of school itself.
The Importance of Play in Preparing for Standardized Testing
Standardised tests can be a wonderful teaching tool to enrich and deepen classroom learning.
What?! The prevailing wisdom states that standardized testing drains the life out of a classroom and saps students of interest and engagement, brings on unnecessary and at times crippling stress, and limits the view of what students are really learning in school.
Teaching to the test is a problem, for sure. But using the format of a standardized test as a teaching tool can be a boon to student learning. The question is how to do this successfully and in a way that captivates student interest.
The itc publications conference “Simply Teaching – Deeply Thinking” will be held at the beautiful Gold Coast on July 18 and 19, 2014. The two day program looks great and is aimed at both teachers and school leaders.
All sessions are aimed at creating the effective classroom. Reinforcing the importance of explicit teaching in developing the deeper thinking capabilities of all students. A flyer is attached – book your place now!
PD From Steve Francis
We are all aware that PEOPLE make the difference in schools. Therefore investing in your people brings the best returns. Professional development sessions for your staff are available on a range of topics. These are ideal for student free days or twilight sessions. Email to check availability of your preferred date and book now.
Which topic does your team need most?
- 7 Secrets to Motivating and Engaging Students
- Building Trust – Essential Skills
- Thriving in Times of Change
- Effective Teamwork in School
- Feedback – Helping Teachers Be the Best They Can Be
- Boosting Morale and Increasing WORK-LIFE Satisfaction
Survey My School
The fastest way to improve your school and boost staff, parent and student satisfaction is to identify and address the problems that annoy and frustrate people. Ensure that your plans for 2014 are informed with useful, accurate information. SurveyMySchool has been specifically designed to support the leadership team to IMPROVE schools. The interactive format of the surveys identifies specific issues and potential solutions.
SurveyMySchool is far more useful than school opinion surveys that only provide data. Whilst having data is a good start, data alone can be misinterpreted and isn’t helpful in addressing people’s specific concerns.
SurveyMySchool is interactive. Respondents who express dissatisfaction with an aspect of the school are asked clarifying questions to provide further detail about their specific concern and potential solutions. The survey report provides useful information to inform school planning, improve the school and increase the satisfaction of staff, parents and students.
Contact us to set up a survey of staff, parents and/or students.
This Month’s Happy School articles include:-
- Suggestions for Improving Parent-Teacher Conferences
- Focus on the White Square Part 1, 2 and 3
- Why Are Some of the People You Work With So Difficult?
Subscribe now and join the 500 schools who are already boosting staff morale and reducing teacher stress as members of Happy School. Reply to this email and ask us to set up your membership. It costs less than ONE supply teacher day!
Conferences and Work With Schools
This month I’m looking forward to working with:-
- Moranbah Schools
- Wesley Hospital Nurse Leaders
- Victorian School Business Managers
- Victorian Special educators
- Boondall SS Staff
- Cavendish Road SHS Leaders
- Beerwah SS staff
- Harris Fields SS leadership team
- Highland Reserve SS staff
- Newmarket SS staff
- Holy Spirit School staff Canberra
- Cronulla School Principals’ cluster
- St Margaret Mary’s School staff TVL
- School Leaders’ breakfast series
- SBMAQ webinars
- QASSP webinars
I’d be happy to talk with you about the professional development needs of your leadership team or whole staff.
If you’d like me to present at your conference or work with your staff, email me firstname.lastname@example.org