ILASCD Journal

Summer 2015

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Page 45 of 55

Article A Shift in Perspective on the Role of the Principal Dr. Andy Johnsen The problem of stress in the principalship is an issue that almost all school leaders are confronting these days. From the first-year, small town, elementary principal, to the urban, high school veteran, school leaders of all kinds are suffering from too much work and not enough time. For many, "stress in the principal-ship" is a redundancy – the two terms are synonymous. A casual observer might not catch this by watching principals joyfully interact with students, lead the monthly awards assembly, or fawn over kindergarteners' artwork. But pull them aside and ask them how things are going and they will invariably tell you, "I'm exhausted. I can't seem to get caught up." Or, as one seasoned administrator recently told me, "I'm just not sure how much longer I can do this." Principals are professionals and they can put on a good game face when all eyes are on them. But at the end of a long day when – yet again – theirs is the last car to pull out of the lot, many wonder if it's worth it. Much has been written about the sources of stress in the principalship. Increased mandates, shrinking budgets and staff reductions certainly contribute. However, the greatest source of school leader stress is one that is rarely, if ever, articulated – principals simply don't know what their actual job is. SUMMER 2015 | VOLUME 61 | NUMBER 2 | PAGE 46

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