When I started teaching, there was no shortage of professional books and websites to support my work in the classroom. However, other teachers proved to be my best resource. I loved bouncing ideas off of them and getting immediate feedback. When I became a principal, I knew I had to start looking in new places for the information I required. I needed professional resources for principals. So, I expanded my reach and found my new tribe. Here’s how you can learn from my experience to help you grow as a principal:
Read professional magazines
I love to read professional magazines from ASCD and NASSP. They offer current news on the state of education and how it affects administration. I learn about conferences to attend and those that might be awesome for teachers. Here are some magazines to check out:
Develop a Twitter personalized feed
On Twitter, I’ve found principals to follow who want to talk about the same things I do. It’s helped me find support from other principals from small schools like mine, and learn about the challenges of principals with a high school the size of my whole district. Other principals will often have conversations about topics that are relevant and current to my school. Searching through Twitter hashtags can dig some these up.
I also use Twitter as a resource to talk to the actual authors of the professional books and magazines I read. It is amazing to carry on a conversation with Jeff Zoul, Todd Whitaker, and Jimmy Casas authors of Start Right Now. On any given day I chat with great leaders like Shelly Burgess and Beth Houf from Lead Like a Pirate. Twitter brings the professional resources for principals to you and let’s you chat live and get feedback right away.
Find free podcasts that offer new action plans and ideas
I get it, you don’t always have time to read a book. Did you ever try listening to a podcast for principals? I listen to relevant podcasts on the way to an away football game, a meeting, or simply a drive to clear my head in a productive way. It’s a good way to stay on top of current issues.
Join Facebook groups
Facebook is not just for catching up with friends and family; it’s also a great way to join groups that share a common interest. I discovered a lot of great discussions on School Leaders Now‘s Facebook group, Principal Life. It’s like Twitter, except I’m not limited to 140 characters. The Facebook group has been beneficial because it’s a private place where principals can talk about what really matters to us.
It can be lonely as a principal, so you’ll need to reach out to others. The awesome thing, though, is that once you take that first step, so many more principals will reach right back and take you in.