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The variety and challenge of being a principal, ‘it’s all gold to me’

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The greatest challenge for me is the constantly changing information that we need to share with our community. We had to make online learning as painless as possible for parents and my staff kept finding new and innovative ways to engage students. During lockdown, we did weekly wellbeing calls to families and provided care packages to those in isolation.

How transferable are your skills?

As a principal, I’ve learned many transferable skills like project management, budgeting, basic site maintenance, interpersonal skills, staffing acquisition and management, and negotiating skills.

What advice do you have for people wanting to get into a career related to your skills and experience?

Be transparent and flexible. Being willing to adjust to situations, you’re able to manage them in a calm way, making people feel comfortable and more inclined to embrace the demands of their job.

What skills and personal skills do people need in teaching?

Patience – working with children can require you to be many things, like a listening ear, a provider of stability and an encourager.

Organisation – be well-prepared and have all bases covered to achieve the desired outcomes.

Be open to feedback – none of us knows everything and demonstrating that you’re also a lifelong learner goes a long way in gaining the respect of students and colleagues.

Resilience – accept feedback without taking it personally.

Good support network – making connections with colleagues who can support you. I have a group of principal colleagues who meet via Zoom every week, where we bounce ideas off each other or ask for advice.

Work/life balance – Try to leave work at work so that you can be present for your family and don’t lose sight of what is important to maintain your wellbeing.

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