I was asked once where I thought this whole blogging thing was going, what was my destination? I had no answer so the questioner asked me whether I would ever become a principal. I quickly answered no and when pressed to explain I told them I was worried about losing my relevance after a few years, that I would not be able to stay current and soon my ideas would be as outdated as my outfits. See teaching every day keeps me in the know, in the moment with these kids, so every day I have to adapt, every day I have to figure out new situations. And even now just 5 years into my teaching career some of my original ideas are already outdated and have definitely lost their relevance to anyone but myself.
I bring this up because I cannot help but wonder whether principalships should have term limits of sort?
Should principals only be allowed to be one for 4 or 5 years before they are automatically kicked back to the classroom for a year? Then when the year has passed they can reapply for another principalship. And yes, this idea is completely cumbersome and a little bit crazy and I am not even saying it is the right idea, but how do we make sure principals stay relevant in their knowledge when sought out by teachers? After all, there are only so many conferences, articles, discussions you can experience and even those will never add up to more classroom experience. And perhaps it is not needed, perhaps principals stay current through their teachers but don’t they also need to rely on their own teaching experiences to help them guide kids and teachers alike? I don’t have the answer.
Since I am not a principal and I am genuinely curious, I would love your comments on this:
- Can principals give relevant advice after they have been out of the classroom for many years?
- Does it matter how many years they taught? Or does it only matter how they are as a leader?
- How do we feel as teachers when our principal has not been in the classroom for more than 10 years and still uses their own old experiences as their measuring stock for every question? Does it work?
I don’t have the answer, only this huge question that I cannot answer. I would love to hear your opinions on this.