The Transition into Leadership

For a number of educators the step into leadership is a logical one. They are excellent practitioners and it seems reasonable that a great leader of children will be a natural leader of a school. However, this is not always the case as the demands of school leaders are great, and without adequate training, people can become burned-out and lost to education.

Not all leaders are born with the skills to lead. Many develop their skills through years of study and observation. There are countless resources available to aspiring leaders. Here are a few books and online resources I would recommend. This is not an exhaustive list, but a wonderful starting point. If you would like other suggestions please email me.

Good to Great
Improving Schools from Within
Leading Change in Your School
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The Art of School Leadership

Keeping a Leadership Journal

Teachers deal with school leaders on a constant basis. For aspiring school leaders, your own school environments are a wonderful place to observe and take notes on leadership. Keeping a journal, either paper or electronic, is a great way to catalog observations about leadership. To get started ask yourself, “What do your current school leaders do that works?”, “How do you believe they could be more effective?”, “How do your school leaders run meetings, interact with parents, support teachers, and compensate for their own shortcomings?” For students of leadership, remember schools are wonderful places to learn.

Educational Leadership

How much time to principals spend on administration? According to Robinson, cited in Devai (2007), New Zealand principals spend fifty percent of their time on administration tasks such as bus schedules and filling out paper work. It could be argued that fifty percent of time spend on administration is conservative for many modern principals. With the move to school-based management many principals seem swamped by the amount of paper work and administrative duties they must conduct.

As a result of her research Robinson outlined the activities of principals that impact on student outcomes, these include.

  • establishing goals and expectations
  • participating in planning, co-ordination and curriculum
  • participating in teacher learning
  • ensuring orderly and caring environment
  • strategic resourcing
  • fostering a learning and caring environment

These activities often seem to be the first that are put on hold to deal with the day to day running of a school. I think Robinson’s findings help both principals and other educators focus on the core principles of education.

Devai, V. (2007) What makes a good leader? Education Review, 17 (2), p. 13.