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The Reason Why Not Every Teacher Wants to Make the Move to Administration

The common assumption is that classroom teachers work hard, take leadership and administration courses, and then go for the top seat, school administrator. However, this isn’t always the case. To the average person, a bigger office, better pay, independence, and more influence seem like the offer of a lifetime compared to class work. But to a teacher who chooses class work over administration, the reward of classroom interaction far outweighs the perks of leadership.

Despite qualifying for administrative roles, teachers who prefer to remain in the classroom feel that modeling students through one-on-one time and passionate teaching are more rewarding than administration. Here are other reasons why not every teacher wants to move to administration.

A Compromise on Class Work

A school administrative role involves:

  • Overseeing teachers and school support staff
  • Implementing policies
  • Handling budgetary needs and communicating with parents, teachers, and students

All these activities demand time away from class. In fact, they may not be able to take any class work, depending on the administrative position.

Moving to administration might feel like an unworthy sacrifice for a teacher whose passion is regular classwork. But then, some teachers can feel incompetent and unequipped to deal with the demands of a school administration role.

Teachers who derive satisfaction from fostering student success feel less rewarded by administrative positions.

Lack of Adequate Support

Schools are dealing with substantial budgetary deficits, a shortage of teachers, and a severe lack of valuable school resources. Moving to administration means dealing with new frustrations daily while making tough decisions to ensure that meager resources keep the school afloat. Unfortunately, not all teachers are willing to put all that on their plate.

Additionally, thriving in an administrative position requires good working relationships with parents and colleagues. If teachers feel undermined by their colleagues, their confidence in finding success as an administrator diminishes, especially when these colleagues are other teachers.

Teachers may also lack the training, guidance, and open communication needed to motivate them to take more administrative roles.

The Increase in Responsibility is Not Equal to the Gain

Moving from class work to administration comes with better pay and more influence. Many believe a school administrator has more work flexibility than a classroom teacher, but that’s not always the case.

Administrators have to organize regular meetings with administrative communities, school boards, federal agencies, parents, and teachers while actively engaging in school administration functions, like hiring teachers and implementing the curriculum. All these duties mean that an administrator’s work day will run beyond the regular work hours. While some might argue that the increase in pay covers the extra workload, some teachers disagree.

Some teachers also feel that administrators work under immense pressure and meager resources but are still expected to deliver. This constant workload and the undue pressure make the administrator role unappealing to many.

Leadership Doesn’t Work for Some

The decision to move from class work to administration can be daunting. It requires thorough self-reflection and evaluation of one’s leadership skills. An administrative position demands collaboration and team-building skills, coordinating with diverse groups, and motivating communities to work together. Not every teacher ranks well in these skills.

While some teachers are gifted in engaging and inspiring students, they might be unequipped to deal with the challenges of running a school. Many teachers know they must adapt to their student's needs and value consistency in class work, but they find the administrative role’s demands overwhelming.

Additionally, the skills that make a teacher effective, like adaptability, communication, empathy, and patience, may not always work for an administrator. For example, a good administrator should be able to make firm decisions even if they make others unhappy. Teachers that use a patient and empathetic approach when dealing with students may find the tougher decisions more challenging.

Redefining Passion

If you’re a teacher passionate about teaching, you may have to redefine your needs when shifting to administration. When most teachers reflect on their career choice, they base their decision to become teachers on the need to shape students’ lives through imparting knowledge.

Unfortunately, switching to administration means creating a different path and working towards other objectives. For example, a teacher derives deep satisfaction from seeing an underperforming student work hard and achieve their goals. An administrative job may not offer this kind of reward. Instead, the teacher has to learn what makes an effective administrator and hope it gives them the same joy as class work.

Written by Steve Ndar
Education World Contributor
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