School principals differ from schoolteachers in various ways. A school principal is a leader who oversees and ensures the smooth running of every aspect of the school. The role comes with a great deal of commitment and requires a higher level of skills, experience, and dedication. The responsibility of a principal covers every member of the school, including students, faculty, supporting members, nurses, counselors, and beyond. The broad role requires you to have a vision and demonstrate strong skills, including leadership, interpersonal, and problem-solving, among others.
The decision to become a principal may be difficult for you if you’re passionate about teaching. You need to keep in mind that you may have to give up on teaching and focus on leadership. Therefore, the role of a principal is a highly demanding role that not just anyone can take on. You need to work on yourself and look for opportunities that can help improve your skills and knowledge. There are several ways to land a role as a principal. For instance, a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership can train you and help you land several career opportunities, including the role of a school principal.
Are you having second thoughts, or are you unsure of whether or not you are cut out for the role of a principal? Here are some signs becoming a principal might be your career calling.
1. You Have Teaching Experience
All principals start as teachers at some point. You need to have several years of teaching to take it to the next step and land a role as a principal. The years of knowledge and experience dealing with students can help you develop ways to improve the school. The role of a principal may require you to give up teaching and focus on leadership and decision-making. If you have a strong passion and dedication towards teaching, you need to reevaluate your decision to become a principal thoroughly.
2. You Have a Clear Vision
Taking responsibility for an entire school system is not an easy job. A principal needs to create a vision, so there’s a direction for where the school is heading. If you have a vision and goals for improving the school system and the education sector, then that’s a clear sign that you’re more than capable of handling a leadership position such as that of a principal.
3. You Have Strong Interpersonal Skills
The role of a principal requires interacting with school members of all ages, roles, and positions. Therefore, you need to have strong interpersonal skills to get your point across successfully. You will also be required to give speeches and presentations to broad audiences. It is essential to communicate clearly and use appropriate body language at all times. If you feel like you have strong interpersonal skills, then becoming a principal might be your career calling, after all.
4. You Have Leadership Skills
As a principal, your institute or school might expect you to head several projects or committees. You might even have to lead entire departments or oversee various school facilities. The role may even go beyond supervising daily tasks. You may be required to make several important decisions, which is why you must have sharp leadership skills. If you display leadership skills and are used to being in control (in a positive way), that’s a major sign that you will excel as a principal.
5. You Can Work Under Pressure
The role of a principal entails a lot of responsibilities. It requires you to meet essential deadlines on short-term notice, and you need to be comfortable working under pressure to get a lot of work done in a short time frame. A principal who is furious all the time is bound to receive a lot of criticism and hate. You need to be able to control your emotions in situations that put you under pressure.
6. You Have Problem-Solving Skills
As a principal, you might encounter various problems regarding students, class schedules, or even the school admin. Hence, you need to have excellent problem-solving skills to provide solutions without making blunders or worsening situations. Principals need to possess the ability to work alongside others to present practical solutions for all problems.
7. You Can Handle Criticism
Becoming a principal means that you’re bound to be in the spotlight at all times. You may receive a lot of praise and credit for improvements in the school, but there will be times when things may not go as planned, and you may receive criticism. The criticism might come from students, faculty members, or disgruntled parents. Make sure to handle it in stride with good resolution, and don’t let it discourage you from your role as a principal. Take criticism as means to improve and make better decisions.
8. You Are Good with Numbers
Principals have a lead role in planning the school’s budget, which is why they need to be good with crunching numbers and making financial decisions. They also need to find funds and grants to keep the various programs functioning smoothly. If you have strong quantitative skills, that’s another sign that you are destined to be a principal.
9. You Encourage New Ideas
You cannot make a successful impact on your school unless you’re willing to hear and work on ideas from others. Turning down ideas simply because of your pride or ego is not a good impression for a principal. It is important to show kindness and empathy to everyone. Make sure to be approachable and give others a chance to present ideas.
The bottom line is that if you are willing to work on yourself and shoulder a massive deal of responsibility, you should consider becoming a principal. Of course, the signs mentioned above indicate that becoming a principal is your calling. Nevertheless, dedication and perseverance are key players in your success in the role. You can be the one to bring the change you wish to see in the school. Just make sure to think the decision through as you may have to give up on educating children in a classroom setting and dedicate yourself to a leadership position.