In this excerpt regarding school administration, Carolyn McGown talks about considerations when interviewing for a teaching position.


The Principal & Assistant Principal

The administrators set the tone for the school. If the administration
maintains high standards for students and faculty and establishes a
sense of community, camaraderie, and professional accountability, the
teachers feel respected and empowered. Teachers in schools run this way
are more likely to enjoy coming to work, to feel effective, and to have a
positive relationship with the administration. Unfortunately, some
administrators run the school in less effective ways, often relying on
orders, threats, and intimidation. In such schools, decisions are made by
two or three individuals, generally none of whom are classroom teachers.

This management style frustrates teachers as it ignores and dismisses
their professional experience. It also dis-empowers them, as it does not
give them a role in school direction and decisions.

The fact is that teachers do not have much of a say as to what kind of an
environment they find themselves in. A new teacher, interviewing for his/
her first position will do all that s/he can to find out about the school, the
administrative style of the principal or assistant principals ("AP"), and
the attitude of the teachers. But this will not be fail-safe. The person who
interviews new teachers has a specific job, and that is to staff vacancies
in the school. S/he may not share information that paints a negative
picture of the school, staff, or faculty.It is in the best interest of the
interviewing teacher to be every careful, and very thorough, in all
interview situations.

The interviewing teacher should visit the school,
speak to other teachers, and try to get a "sense" of the school and the
teacher attitudes. The interviewing teacher should also seek out new
teachers in the building, as they will be good resources to determine the
kind of outreach and support that is offered to new teachers.

Whatever the school situation, the new teacher is going to have to find a
way to survive and thrive at the school, and to help his/her students to do
the same. Maintaining positive relationships with the administration and
with the faculty will be essential in doing this

In some schools, the principal knows every teacher, and speaks to each
one daily. In other schools, the principal is somewhat isolated, focusing
on management and administrative issues, rather than with
instructional issues and the teaching faculty. In still other schools, there
is no direct link between the teachers and the administrator. In these
schools, teachers answer to an AP or supervisor and rarely interact with
the principal. The second and third of these scenarios are frustrating to


Chapter 3: Administration & Faculty
Classroom Survival page 43 Carolyn McGown