On the Job
Education administrators are in charge of schools and school districts.
Each year, students across America are given standardized tests. While this is nerve-wracking for the students, it might be the most nerve-wracking for the principal. Schools are judged by the performance of their students, and as the saying goes, with the principal, "the buck stops here." The principal is ultimately responsible. Principals make sure that the best teachers are hired and properly trained. They oversee the curriculum as well as the day-to-day operations. Overall, they do everything to make sure that students are learning, happy, and safe.Most education administrators are school principals. Principals manage public and private elementary and high schools. They set goals for schools based on the standards set by the school district. They review laws and make sure they are being followed in their school. They create budgets and make spending decisions about buildings, equipment, and supplies. Principals evaluate school programs and work to improve education. It is becoming more common for principals to seek grant money to fund projects.
Principals hire teachers and other staff, such as counselors and janitors. They work with teachers to develop courses and teaching standards. They also manage student teachers from colleges. In addition, principals evaluate staff members. They watch teachers while they teach their classes and meet with teachers afterward.
Principals make sure that students are meeting academic standards. Sometimes they must discipline students who have broken school rules. They also meet with parents to discuss student behavior. They work with students, teachers, and parents to resolve conflicts. Principals work to improve school attendance. They meet with parent-teacher councils to learn about parents' concerns. They often coordinate volunteer groups to oversee special program or fundraising events.
In recent years, schools have begun to address non-academic issues such as homelessness. Some families rely on schools to provide care before and after school. Principals work to address the needs of all students attending their school. They may oversee food programs and health clinics run by the school. They also bring in volunteers to help teachers and work with students.
Larger schools may have assistant principals. They are responsible for scheduling classes. They also order textbooks and may coordinate school activities. Some assistant principals work directly with students. They may counsel students on vocational goals. In many schools, they also handle discipline and attendance problems.
Some education administrators coordinate programs for an entire school district. They direct subject areas such as math, music, and art. Others oversee counseling programs and school testing standards. They also provide in-service training to teachers in their district. Some education administrators work in career centers and manage school-to-work programs.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Set goals for schools and direct the activities of teachers and staff.
- Hire and evaluate teachers and staff.
- Determine how money is spent for salaries, supplies, equipment, and other purchases.
- Confer with parents and teachers to discuss school activities and policies.
- Provide guidance to students regarding personal, academic, or behavior problems.
- Assist teachers when resolving problems with students.
- Coordinate instructional programs, such as art or music.
- Make sure school is following all laws and buildings meet government codes.
- Oversee counseling and school testing standards.
- Supervise food programs and health clinics operated through the schools.
- Prepare grant proposals to fund special projects.
- Organize and lead volunteer committees to oversee events and special projects.
- Review school programs and make changes when necessary. Determine if new programs are needed.
- May teach or provide direct care to students.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Perform administrative tasks.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Coordinate the work and activities of others.
- Resolve conflicts and negotiate with others.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Develop and build teams.
- Work with the public.
- Guide, direct, and motivate subordinates.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Schedule work and activities.
- Coach others.
- Use computers.
- Process information.
- Teach others.
- Communicate with people from outside the organization.
- Assist and care for others.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a high level of social interaction. They work with teachers, students, and parents.
- Communicate daily by e-mail, telephone, and in person. They also regularly write letters and memos.
- Almost always work as part of a team, group, or department.
- Are substantially responsible for the work outcomes of those they supervise, such as teachers and counselors.
- May occasionally give public speeches or presentations.
- Are often placed in conflict situations with parents or teachers when disciplining students.
- Are responsible for the health and safety of students and teachers.
- Regularly deal with unpleasant or angry students or parents.
- Almost always work indoors in schools or offices. Sometimes work outdoors on school grounds.
- Work near others, such as when sharing office space. Those working with younger children may come into closer contact.
- Must fully complete and be exact in their work. Errors could prevent students from receiving a high-quality education.
- Regularly make decisions that greatly impact others, including parents, students, teachers, and coworkers. They rarely consult others before deciding a course of action.
- Set nearly all their daily tasks and goals without talking to a superior first.
- Operate by strict weekly and daily deadlines. This can make the work atmosphere somewhat competitive.
- May work evenings to attend meetings or sporting events.
- Usually work full time, the whole year round.
- Generally work a set schedule.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Sit or stand for long periods of time.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- Use fingers to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.