Becoming a Teacher: Getting to Know the Hierarchy
One of the most important keys to your success as a teacher at any level is to be able to get what you need to help the students in your class. You will need supplies, information, cooperation, and assistance from many interested parties. The first person to consider when you need help is your immediate supervisor.
Your immediate supervisor and your principal almost certainly took part in the decision to hire you to teach the specific class you're teaching, and they want you to succeed. So, it is in your best interest to get to know your principal, vice or assistant principal, curriculum supervisor, and director. A hierarchy of supervisors may work with you along the road to success, and each individual will play an important role at some point. Seek them out, and begin a congenial relationship that allows you to have regular conversations with these administrators.
The Principal's Job
The principal is in charge of the entire building. The ultimate responsibility for everyone and everything comes back to the principal's desk. He or she must answer to the members of the board of education, who make the policies that guide the district; to the superintendent, who is responsible for the achievement in all schools within a district; and to the parents and guardians of every student in the school community. Your job as a teacher is to provide the best educational opportunities and instruction for each and every one of your students. For your principal to succeed, he or she must provide you with the guidance and materials that allow you to do that. There may be an intermediary supervisor between you and the principal, but your principal is nevertheless informed.
The principal monitors attendance (including yours), enrollment, hiring and placement of all kinds of personnel, and custodial and transportation issues; prepares budgets; orders supplies; implements curriculum; conducts after-school activities; and works with parent groups. If you have any questions about the school, the principal will advise you, point you in the right direction to find an answer, or otherwise help you handle a problem.
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