Daniel D. Trotter, Sr.
Note: This article originally appeared in The Teacher’s Advocate! magazine. The author is the father of Dr. John Trotter,
and he serves on the MACE
Board of Directors. Mr. Trotter is a retired Georgia school principal.
The following is
a list of characteristics that I would suggest to any principal who cares to be respected and admired by both students and
1. Always be completely
open to teachers. Be willing to discuss any policy that you have and give the
background as to why you instilled the policy.
is important that you always speak pleasantly to your teachers and never put them down in the presence of others. All constructive criticism should be done in private. Never
raise your voice when you have a need to correct a teacher. Never strip your
teachers of their dignity.
generous with praise and cautious with criticism. Be quick to give credit to
others when it is due to them. Make it a policy to commend your teachers often. Look for reasons to commend them and you will see that they will work harder for you.
tell the truth – even when it hurts. No one respects a person whom they
can’t depend on to tell the truth. As the saying goes, “Tell it like
easily approachable. Encourage teachers to ask you for help, if needed.
seen! A principal should be in the school halls when students are in the halls. You should be in and out of the cafeteria during lunch. You should go into the classrooms often, if only for a few minutes.
You should be visible in order to be a leader.
discipline your number one concern. Without discipline, little teaching or learning
can take place. You are the key to any school’s discipline. You must have a firm policy and be sure that both teachers and students fully understand it. Be willing to take a stand and then stand.
accept an accusation against a teacher until you first speak with that teacher. Be
a friend to your teachers and support them as much as possible. When they make
mistakes, let them down easily.
open to teachers’ suggestions and, if you disagree, be pleasant in your discussion.
You have no need to be threatened, if you are open and honest.
10. The last characteristic
is a summary of the other nine. When you deal with teachers, remember two things: Tell the truth and treat others like you would want to be treated.