Over the past few years I have been approached by various peers as well as administrators in my school district about pursuing my administrative degree and joining the administrative ranks. Naturally I find this flattering that anyone would think I would make a good administrator. However, my answer to those requests and comments has always been the same. No. I never say never, but at this point in my considerably short career I don’t see it happening. Recently, I have been trying to evaluate why my answer is always no and why teachers make the choice to become an administrator.
For some people there is a bump in pay which is a realistic and justifiable reason to make the move up the ladder. I don’t do the job for the money so this is not a motivator for me. Teachers that are motivated by money are not doing the job for the right reason and therefore would not make good administrators.
Another reason I see teachers move into administration is for the move up the ladder. In most corporate settings you start as low man on the totem pole and work your way to the corner office on the top. Some educators are not that different and see the move to administration as the move up the “corporate ladder”. I have no desire to move up a ladder and therefore this is not something that appeals to me. I would also argue that administrators that view this as their reason are probably not doing it for the right reason.
The third and final reason that I could think of for becoming an administrator is the increased influence and control that an administrator has in a school or district. Administrators can influence curriculum, school policy, staffing, scheduling, and nearly every aspect of a school. If we have good teachers in these positions we would assume that they could be good administrators. They use the increased influence to move a building or district in a forward motion to increase over all student learning. Through tapping into their experiences in the classrooms, they can look to make positive changes. However, we also know administrators that use their authority to push personal agendas or just keep the status quo.
I got into education because I like teaching. I enjoy working with students on a daily basis and sharing their learning and their lives with them. I enjoy the relationships I build with staff members and students alike. Administrators do have influence on building decisions, but I influence my students’ lives daily on a deeper level than I ever could in the front office.
So, if you are an administrator, I would love to hear why you made the decision to be one. If you are a teacher that does not want to become an administrator, I would like to hear why.