By: Mary Joy K. Mercader, Principal I
Candido M. Pesa Memorial School
SDO Lipa City
With great power, comes great responsibility.
I assume that we are all familiar with where that line comes from. Yes, you’re right. It’s from the Spiderman movie where he was given powers that could be used to save other people through his powers.
As that is the situation of a school head, they are given the power to lead, command and manage our schools. This entails a lot of responsibility as being the principal is bombarded with lots of obligations not only to your teachers, but also to your learners, parents, stakeholders, and the whole wide school community.
From two words that became one – school and head – this means to become the managing person of a school – from human resources, financial resources, educational activities of students and teachers, external relations, the well-being of students and teachers, and teaching students.
How can one become a great school head? One part of it is being able to influence others to bring out the greatness in them. Being the head of a school is not about just using your power to your advantage but also empowering others to be their best. Highly effective school leaders see the strengths in the people around them and create opportunities for those strengths to flourish.
According to Education Week, the most effective principals know how to delegate authority to maintain a healthy work-life balance, find ways to address student mental health needs and learn how to address the issue of disgruntled employees in their workplace.
Yet, with the ever-changing world that we are in right now, school heads are faced with lots of challenges – from making sure their schools are ready to resume face-to-classes, to limited budgets – they must be able to exercise their powers being able to cope with these.
In an article Kat Boogaard titled ‘7 Leadership Qualities That Make for an Awesome Leader’, detailed some of these qualities that school heads must possess aside from being versatile and flexible. These qualities are always applicable to becoming a better leader in any situation you may be in.
First is the willingness to listen. School heads – just like teachers – don’t have their work end in school. Communication is the key for them to understand each other and resolve any issues and conflicts that may arise. Remember that a good leader is also a good listener. We are not know-it-all persons, so it is essential to always have an open ear for the people who are under our care.
Second is the quality of persevering – perseverance. For every problem, there is always a solution. Not all dead ends are dead ends. It may be just a redirection in our way of leading our schools. We are not alone; we have our subordinates who are always there to support us to make our schools better.
Third is honesty and transparency. From the old cliché, honesty is the best policy. As leaders, our teachers, learners, and parents must always be kept in the loop. Transparency boards are always to be updated. Teachers, learners, parents, and the community want to know that they can trust their leaders. Trust is something that should be built on a solid foundation.
Fourth is selflessness. School heads should not become a boss in nature; they should become leaders who chose to serve the greater community. It may be that we’re the ones in charge of our school, but you are also accountable to the pressing needs of those who are under you concerning our field of expertise.
Fifth is decisiveness. Coming up with a decision based on the data one has is a skill that a school head must possess. If the school head is indecisive most of the time, the school already lacks direction. It is to be noted that a school head’s decision is not going to be always right; however, we must keep things going and moving forward.
For the last two qualities, we have trust and integrity. Two of the most important characteristics that we should exercise in our job are. Action speaks louder than words. We must be able to show our teachers, learners, and everyone in the community that we could be trusted, and we stand by our words.
Being a school head is one tough job that not everyone is cut for. The qualities discussed just forms a part of the whole picture of becoming an effective school leader. Let our school heads continue to become a beacon of hope to our schools in developing and honing the skills of their teachers and learners and become a model for the whole community.