What Teachers Want in a School Principal

Dec 18, 2016 by

It is well known that teachers do not get into the field of education for the fame or fortune. People that become teachers typically have a desire to positively impact the lives of children for various reasons. A principal that provides consistency, trust and support will create a culture in which teachers are able to fulfill their dreams to touch the lives of youth.


Educators are constantly working towards moving targets. With the ever changing policies, curriculum, laws, etc. teachers must remain at the forefront of these changes in order to implement them when necessary. Teachers also juggle various professional development initiatives and evaluation pressures as they are required to prove that students have made the expected academic growth in a school year. The consistency of a principal can foster a grounded work environment for teachers that face so many variables from day to day. When a principal can provide clear and concise expectations for both students and staff there is a level of relief as everyone is on a common ground. The less a teacher has to guess in regards to principal reactions, practices or philosophy, the more informed the teacher can be at making decisions that support the vision and goals of the school. See this article to read more about creating a school culture with consistency.

Value of Trust

While working tirelessly to plan lessons, communicate with families and the variety of everyday job demands, teachers need to have trust in their principal’s abilities to effectively lead the building. Equally, as important, teachers must feel the security that their principal trusts them and their abilities to provide best practice instruction for the students. Teachers must know their principal has faith in their professionalism and abilities by allowing them to have autonomy within their practice. Trusting relationships are a basic necessity to creating a productive environment in any organization including schools. School cultures that are built around trusting relationships foster interactions that are conducive to student success. To find out more about building trust between teachers and principals see this link that explains how trust is an essential component for building school relationships.

Fostering Team Spirit

Teachers need to know that they are not stranded alone on an island in their classrooms. Principals need to support their teachers in all areas of this profession. Educators that know the principal will stand behind them with students and parents are able to confidently develop expectations and hold students accountable without fear of being undermined should someone question a practice put in place. Teachers are also more apt to take risks within lesson delivery if they know the principal will encourage their efforts in stepping outside the box in an attempt to benefit student achievement. Building administrators that support their teachers become a source of inspiration and innovation. See this article on how effective principals encourage their teachers.

Just ask any new or experienced educator what they want in a school leader and they will chime in: one who is a supportive but demanding principal. A great principal is one who allows you to do what you need to do and finds a way to develop you professionally.

What qualities do you need most from your school administrator? Please share in the comments below.

Keywords: Trust, School Culture, Collaboration, Student Achievement, Professional Development, Instructional Leadership


Brown, K. (2014). The Importance of Trust. School, Community, Policy Leadership. Retrieved from:  http://teachforall.org/en/network-learning/importance-trust

Hechinger Report. (2011). What teachers want in a principal. Retrieved from: http://hechingerreport.org/what-teachers-want-in-a-principal/

Richards, Jan. (2007). How Effective Principals Encourage Their Teachers. Principal Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.naesp.org/resources/2/Principal/2007/J-Fp48.pdf

Wong, H. & Wong, R. (2011). How a Principal Creates a Culture of Consistency. Effective Teaching. Retrieved from: http://www.teachers.net/wong/AUG11/


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