Are you a passionate educator? Do you think you have the right leadership skills to take your career a step further? Or you’re simply interested in getting jobs in school admin. Here are some tips:

should you be a school leader/principal

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If you’re not yet a teacher, you should definitely start from there. Gaining classroom teaching experience is an important step to becoming a school administrator.

Passion and strong leadership are qualities required of principals because they serve as the leaders of schools. They manage students, teachers and other staff. They also manage budgets and represent their school publicly. Administrators often work past school closing hours and also year-round, unlike teachers, who often have several months of vacation.

As Dave Burgess says in his book Teach Like a Pirate, “It’s not supposed to be easy–it’s supposed to be worth it.”

A school administrator may work at a primary, secondary, or post-secondary school, either private or public. The jobs vary significantly, but school administrators share some common traits. They must be compassionate, focused and passionate.

You should know that becoming a school principal is not for everyone. Many educators figure this out eventually. If you think you’re ready for the job then here are the basic career requirements:

1. Degree 

In Nigeria, becoming a teacher is as straight-forward as earning a bachelor’s degree in education. Sometimes, this is not even necessary as far as you have a relevant degree in your chosen area of specialization.  Once you have this, most schools will hire you to start teaching after one or two interviews that show you know your stuff.

2. Classroom Experience 

Most schools require a certain number of years of experience before you are given a position in school admin. This is because people need classroom experience to have an understanding of what goes on in a school on a day to day basis. It will be easier for teachers to relate to you and understand where you are coming from if you have classroom experience because they know you have been one of them. 

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3. Leadership Experience 

Many school districts start administrators in the assistant principal role to allow them to gain experience. To gain an advantage, look for opportunities to sit on or chair school committees throughout your time as a teacher. Let your school principal know that you are interested in becoming a principal. Chances are they will give you some increased role to help prepare you or at the very least you can pick their brain concerning principal best practices. Every bit of experience and knowledge will help when you land your first principal’s job.

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4. Interviews

Once you are ready, then it is time to start looking for a job. Principal’s jobs are intensely competitive and can be difficult to land. Be confident and prepared. Remember that as they are interviewing you, you are interviewing them. Do not settle for a job. You don’t want a job at a school which you do not genuinely want with all the stress a principal’s job can bring.

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Once you get a position, come in with a plan but remember that there will always be surprises. There are new challenges and issues that arise each and every day. Continue to search for ways to improve, do your job better, and make improvements to your school.

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