How to Make A Successful Transition From Teaching to Administration

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Most teachers have no idea about how to move from teaching to administration. They believe that all they need to progress is to teach well. However, as they make the decision to advance in their careers and move from a teaching job to an administrative job (such as teacher to assistant principal or from teacher to principal), they discover that they are not equipped with all the skills required.

This happens because an administrative job requires additional skills that are not usually required in a teaching position. In fact, it wouldn't be wrong to say that a principal's job is more like a manager's job. Apart from teaching skills, you need strong management skills that will assist in the day-to-day planning and running of a school.  You will probably have to acquire your new skills in a certificated university program, earning a new teaching credential upon completion.

Here are some skills that you will need to make a successful transition from teaching to administration:

Communication and interpersonal skills - As a principal or assistant principal, you need to have strong communication and interpersonal skills because you must communicate with students, parents, teachers, and other administrators on a daily basis.

Some examples of communication include updating the superintendent, the public, and/or school board about the school; speaking with a teacher about the progress of his/her class; interacting with students and their parents; meeting with community members; disciplining students; writing reports; and convincing staff to implement courses of action.

Leadership Skills - You need to have strong leadership skills for a principal's and an assistant principal's job. You must be able to lead by example and guide teachers and students in the right direction when they face challenges.  In addition, you must be able to advise and lead your staff in making improvements to curricula and procedures.

Resource Management - One of the major challenges of an administrative job is to manage resources effectively. This will require a lot of planning and supervision. You need to manage resources such as, staff, equipment, time, and many more to run the school efficiently.  In addition, be prepared to manage the budget and supervise fundraising.

Process Management - One of the key challenges faced by a principal and assistant principal is to improve the existing processes of the school. This requires careful insight into existing processes of the school, identifying the ones that can be improved, proposing ways to improve them, and implementing the changes.

Discipline Management - Discipline is an important part of all school management. As a principal or assistant principal, you need to ensure that discipline is maintained throughout the school. This requires meeting with teachers on a regular basis and discussing methods to improve classroom discipline. Plus, you need to ensure that the methods discussed to improve discipline are actually followed and are effective.  You will be required to deal with parents and children when discipline issues become serious.  As a result, you may have to attend attendance, suspension, or expulsion meetings.

Multitasking - You need to work on more than one task at a time. This tests your planning, supervising, and management skills.  You must have good computer skills using word processing, organizing, scheduling, budgeting, and database software, as well as e-mail.

Time Management - As a principal or assistant principal, you are expected to manage time efficiently so that projects are completed on time. This requires careful planning, delegation of work, and supervising.  Be prepared to work long hours; a typical day will last 10-12 hours.

Community Work - A principal is expected to contribute to the surrounding community.  You will find yourself participating in community activities on a regular basis.  If possible, get the student body involved with community work; it builds character and helps the students obtain valuable work experience.

The good news is that most of the above skills can be acquired over a period of time, while you acquire your teaching experience. In addition, you can obtain help from your superiors if you want to improve a skill. For some skills, university coursework is required. There are countless professional courses available, and they will teach you the fine details of management that will facilitate a successful transition from teaching to administration.

Make sure you have the perfect resume and cover letter prior to embarking on a career transition. You can review our resume and cover letter samples here.


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