Not a day goes by, somewhere in the world, where the following conversation does not take place:
Parent: I want my child moved to the other 5th grade.
Parent: Because the teacher in the other 5th grade, Mrs. Jones, is a much better teacher.
Principal: You know I just can’t move around children.
Parent: I understand, and I’m only asking this one time. And, by the way, why does my child always gets the inferior teacher?
Principal: I don’t understand why you think Mrs. Jones is a better teacher. Your child’s current teacher is an excellent educator. Your child’s excellent standardized test scores prove he is learning a tremendous amount.
Parent: Yes, but Mrs. Jones is so much more fun. After all, isn’t making learning fun more important than what they actually learn?
Perhaps it wasn’t a fair question. And, in all the years that I asked, they were unsure of the answer I wanted. But, to me, it was the best way to know if the teacher I was interviewing was the best person for the job.
Sure, I would check for mastery in the subject matter to be taught and make sure they had the training required to be successful in the classroom. Experience was a plus but not necessarily a deal breaker. Strong character, professionalism, strong work ethic, honesty and integrity were, however, a must. But, that wasn’t my BIG question.
The story is fairly well known. It’s early Monday morning and a worried mother comes in to wake her son. “John” she yells, “It’s the third time this morning that I’ve called you. You have to get up!” A moan is a heard from under a heap of covers as John responds sleepily, “But I don’t want to go to school.” His mother tries to convince him of the importance of his being in school, to which John responds, “But, everyone hates me! The students hate me, the teachers hate me, and everyone in the office hates me!” “I understand”, his mother sympathetically answers, “But, you simply must go!” “But why?” her son replies. “Because”, says his mother, “you’re the principal!”
Why the reasons for such high principal burnout, leading to such high principal turnover rates?