If you feel like you have a terrible principal, I’ve been there. When doing their job properly, principals can change the dynamic of a school. A good leader encourages their employees to be their best, pushing everyone to their highest levels of success. He or she creates a negative school environment, and often times the teacher leaving school. If your principal is unkind, unethical, and just outright awful – there are only so many things you can do.
A Negative School Environment
Everyone feels the pressure of a bad school environment. Maybe your principal is constantly micro managing. In a negative school environment, teachers are afraid to ask questions. You are walking on eggshells to avoid being the center of negative attention. The principal is a source of stress, not comfort.
Focus On Your Reaction
If something bad happens, try to let it pass. Before you walk into a meeting with your terrible principal, take a few seconds to reflect on what may happen. While you are in the meeting, keep your calm. Don’t be too caught up in your emotions or you may say or do something you regret. A negative school environment keeps you tense, so try to practice mindfulness to not make any matters worse.
Vent To Others If Possible
I did not know what was wrong with me. My principal HATED me, and I was new at the school. She was constantly breathing down my neck, and made me feel small every second of every day. I was crying on my way to work, I did not know if I wanted to be a teacher any longer. Eventually I vented to a coworker… and I learned that everyone felt the same way. I wasn’t alone. There were other employees that the principal was bullying. I was able to talk to them, and started to learn that I WAS OKAY. I was NOT the problem in this situation. Other teachers found out what was going on and went out of their ways to encourage me to remind me I am a great teacher. None of this would have happened if I bottled it in.
You may feel better finding a few coworkers about your terrible principal to talk to that share you opinion. Blowing off some steam helps, and makes you feel less alone. Always make sure the coworkers are trustworthy, because obviously you do not want this to get back to your principal.
Go To Your Union If Necessary
My union was a godsend in my situation. My principal was CONSTANTLY out of line, overstepping her boundaries, and making innappropriate comments. I had my union help me write rebuttal letters, inform me of my rights, and a kind ear when I needed a friend.
Your union is your best friend in a bad school environment. The union will know how to deal with your principal. Your union rep is on your side to protect you. Feel like your principal is bullying you or out of line? Ask your union rep to sit in meetings with a bad principal to document.
The Teacher Leaving The School Approach
You might want to consider looking into other positions at neighboring schools. If your dealing with a bad school principal, try to find a school with a good one! If you are miserable with this principal and you’ve exhausted other options, take your health and sanity into consideration. Moving to another school sounds like a lot of work, but you’ll find yourself much happier in the long run. If you want to hear the end of my story, continue reading here with my post about why I ultimately quit teaching and switched careers and have NEVER BEEN HAPPIER.