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Resources for Teachers: How to Deal With a ‘Problem Principal’

Miniland Educational: Playing today, for tomorrow

By Miniland

March 9, 2017

8 Minute read

It’s part of the parcel that as a teacher – you are at some stage of your life – going to come across someone in your school that you clash with.

This could be a difference in opinions, personalities, or simple mismanagement, no matter what it is – you can be sure that you are going to experience in your work environment at some point.

It can be particularly hard dealing with a workplace problem at school if the person that you are having trouble with is a direct boss or in a position of power. This could lead to you feeling bullied or afraid to speak out due to fear of losing your job.

In a schooling environment, more often than not, this person often turns out to be the principal. There are millions of wonderful principals out there, but as with any industry, there are those that simply just don’t ‘get it’.

Here the best ways to deal with a problem principal at your school:

Open lines of communication

One of the most important things to establish when you are struggling with your principal is to ensure that you are communicating freely and honestly. You need to let him/her know that you are struggling with an aspect of their behavior or opinions.

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Keeping something to yourself is a sure way to bottle up resentment that will not just affect your relationship with the principal but also find its way into your classroom and could have an impact on your students.

Communication is also key to understanding where they are coming from. After all – there is always two sides to a story – talking to your principal may clear up some confusion and help you two to work better together in the future.

Remember that they have a huge job

While you may be frustrated with your principal when they don’t budge on resources or refuse to change a small policy, you should always remember that they have a massive job to do too.

They are in charge of multiple departments and that many of the ideas that they propose (that you don’t like) are most likely coming from the board or state.

Those small changes you want to make for the good of your classroom can have a massive effect on other departments of the school. Remember that more funding for something you want may siphon money from elsewhere and result in another staff member losing out.

Always remain professional

It’s always important to give your principal the benefit of the doubt and take into consideration the points made above. However, sometimes they simply don’t work and you may feel like your principal is going against you personally or simply being a bit of a bully.

It’s essential in this case that you don’t stoop to their level. Report the problem to a higher power like a union or the school board, but above all, remember to always remain professional in every capacity.

You will gain more credibility and professional respect if you keep yourself together and deal with the problem in the best way you possibly can.

Create change from within your classroom

If your principal simply isn’t budging and you can’t see a way around it, then one of the best things to do is stop complaining and start creating positive change in your classroom where you can.

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Don’t let the administration and issues of the broader school environment have an effect on the children in your class that need you. Create a loving, nurturing environment that allows your students to grow and learn in a place that they truly love being. Change starts with you after all.

As a teacher, you have the ability to shape the future generations, and that is a huge responsibility. We are passionate about teachers at Miniland, and our educational toys and resources for teachers are there to advise, inspire and assist teachers in their everyday lives. Contact us for more information and classroom improvement ideas.


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