Principals as class room teachers, again

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 23, 2006

To the Editor:

Education is a continuous learning process for “educators.”

Classroom teachers, school administrators, and superintendents are required to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) as professional growth/development to maintain their teacher certification/license.

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The required number of CEU’s varies according to the different states.

Also, the length and expiration date of teacher certification are different throughout the states.

Each state establishes its own educational requirements.

A widely debated issue in the education arena is, “Should school administrators be required to return to the classroom as teachers for one year as professional development to renew their teacher certification/license?”

Also, “Should superintendents be required to serve as school principals for one year to renew their professional license?”

Some individuals feel that principals who have been out of the classroom for a long period of time have lost touch with the current generation of students.

They suggest that administrators’ workshop/conference attendance does not address the real-world discipline and teaching demands of today’s classroom.

The value system for many youth has changed from generations ago.

Teachers are finding it to be more and more difficult to reach the 21st century youth.

Teachers are leaving the profession. Up to 50 percent of new teachers leave the profession in the first five years.

A return of the principal to the classroom would probably validate several research findings:

lack of classroom management skills, instructional skills, and stress from the demands of teaching in classrooms today are serious issues for first-year teachers.

Also, the biggest challenges experienced teachers face are instruction, teacher burnout, and lack of respect.

The trip back to the classroom for the principal will also allow him/her to gain first hand knowledge of how to keep the best teachers in their school.

Surveys reveal that a strong teacher-mentoring program is helpful for new teachers.

A support induction program to orientate, support, assist, train, and assess new teachers in their first three years is becoming increasingly popular in many schools.

Improving the quality of education is foremost in every administrator’s mind.

But, a major unanswered question is “Who will serve as school principal if the head principal returns to the classroom for one year?”

The budget in most school districts will not allow for the hiring of a one year interim principal.

Gerald Shirley


School of Discovery