Here are 5 misconceptions about administrators and school administration that emerged from readers (responses edited for brevity):
1. They’re paid too much–especially compared to teachers
“If people think a principal rushes home at the end of the day in a Ferrari to catch the last flight to Paris for a little weekend, those people are crazy. There really isn’t a big difference between what, say, an assistant principal makes and what a teacher makes.” – John C., Calif.
“Let’s be honest: No one goes into education or administration thinking ‘Here’s where I’ll make the big bucks.’ And that applies to everyone from a local school principal to superintendents of some of the largest districts in the nation.” – Alice W.
“I want to start by saying that everyone in education is usually paid far below what is deserved, and that includes teachers. Teacher salaries start low and end low, and that’s for a college degree-required career. However, the current difference between daily teaching and administration salaries is narrow when considering the length of the work year and comparative levels of education and experience. It’s not the difference between lower middle class and upper middle class. We’re all usually earning middle class salaries…if not lower middle class salaries.” – C. Quinn
2. They don’t know what it’s like to be in the classroom
“One misconception is that we are somehow disconnected from the classroom; that we’re not in the trenches. Many administrators are former teachers who at some point had the opportunity to take a little more control of the helm and go into administration. And many of us accepted these positions because we know what it’s like in there-and we want to change it.” – George from Ore.
“You really can’t have this ‘us versus them’ mentality in a 21st century school anymore. If everyone isn’t working together the school will fail. Many administrator education programs now have training that requires those wanting to become principals or superintendents to work with teachers on developing projects, curriculum, or finding solutions to assessments and data issues. They’re well-aware of what’s happening.” – Mel Harris, N.Y.
3. Administrators are control freaks…
“That we never allow teachers flexibility or allow them to take risks. It’s true that if there’s a massive change (for example, an idea to flip every class taught) then sure, we’re hesitant. But just like teachers and parents, we want nothing more than for students to enjoy learning and to succeed.” – Anonymous
“One misconception is that we worry too much because it’s an issue of power. It’s not an issue of power it’s about accountability. We have to make sure we’re making the best possible decisions for our district while keeping in mind policies and compliance issues.” – G. Foster, Fla.
(Next page: More administration myths)