February 26, 2020

The Changing Role Of School Principals – Can Technology Lighten The Load?

The school principal is responsible for steering the school community towards success, much like what a CEO’s role is to a company. Developing standardised curricula, assessing teaching methods, monitoring student achievement, encouraging parent involvement: these are but a few of the key responsibilities of a school principal.

Sadly, the high workload limits their effectiveness. A global study by the OECD reported that less time is being spent in observing classes, mentoring teachers and being involved in student evaluations. Almost two-thirds of Australian principals experience this dilemma. In a separate 2018 census report, data showed that on the average, Australian school principals work 53 hours a week – ranking them 12th out of almost 400 of the professions surveyed.

The modern day school principal need not be burdened with paper work. Constant innovation in educational technology produce teacher tools that shorten the time spent in compiling and assessing reports. Web based data analysis tools such as Euphoria Aware, Workshop, Forethought, web based Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS), and productivity tools in the form of word processing, spreadsheets and presentation applications are helpful. Utilizing technology for data analysis is easier and quicker than doing by hand calculation.

The school principal who is adept with the use of edtech tools will inspire confidence among the entire teaching staff. Elearning will benefit from this. Once the educators see and experience the benefits of using technology, they will be more cooperative in realising the school principal’s strategic direction for the school system. Also, all the time saved can be used for meetings and dialogues.

Communication is necessary for a community to be successful.

With the aid of technology, the school principal will have more time to attend school functions (parent conference and school board meetings, etc.) and extra curricular activities such as sports games, concerts and plays. Visibility builds rapport; it shows interest and dedication to students, teachers and parents. It also brings the entire community closer and opens up communication channels.

Nowadays online visibility is also important. Social media can be used to build a stronger school community. Messaging applications, official school website and online forum could be utilised to create a venue where students, parents and the teaching staff could discuss important issues such as bullying and internet safety.

In the business of producing citizens that would contribute to nation building, Killarney Heights High School Principal Hayley Emmerton has this to say: “You don’t do it for the money, you do it because teaching is so rewarding. You don’t come out with sales figures, you come out with young lives.”