As I contemplate my new position as a new high school vice-principal, I am struck by the stigma of the role. Walk into any high school and ask the students to name any of the vice-principals and the answer will be something like “Um, I think it is Mr. ________.” followed by some general statement about how strict he is about the rules.
Students view the vice-principal as the person you have to see when you get in trouble at school. Parents view the vice-principal as the person who calls them to report the poor behaviour of their child or as the complaint department. Teachers view the vice-principal as someone you never want to see in your classroom because it means you are under evaluation or something has gone wrong.
Why is this the stigma?
There are 2 main reasons I can come up with…
- Vice-principals ARE responsible for all the above mentioned duties and much of our time is spent on those things.
- The general workload is very heavy and so a lot of time is spent in the office, out of sight.
These things unfortunately define the role and ingrains the stigma. So, here is my plan to change the dreaded high school vice-principal perception.
- I will be out of my office and interacting with students in the classroom more often than not even if this means I will be working late to catch up on paperwork. My obligation is to the students first and foremost and being a direct part of their learning is crucial to my role as an educator.
- I will ensure teachers know I am a partner in education, not an evaluator or judge. I can not ask teachers to allow me into their classrooms without this understanding. It is paramount to ensuring trust and respect.
- I will call at least one parent a day with a positive message about their child. Why must I always be the bearer of bad news?! I am going to show parents they can trust I have their child’s best interests at heart.
Too simple? Impossible? Maybe…but it is 3 steps in the right direction. As I enter this role in September, I will be updating this blog with how this plan is working. Stay tuned…