Teacher to Administrator: Who Needs More Cash?

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Being a School Administrator is Like Printing Money.  Not.Lately, the PrincipalsPage.com mailbox has been overflowing with questions (okay, we have only gotten one, but let’s not get bogged down by semantics).

The question was from our friend Tim and was posted on the blog, I Didn’t Know How Much I Didn’t Know.

He asked, “Is it worth it? Leaving the classroom I mean.”

That’s an easy one. Yes.

I didn’t even have to think about it (not that I put time into thinking about much of anything).

While the answer to the question is a simple one, the reasons behind it are far more complicated.

Teachers leave the classroom for a variety of reasons. They will tell you that making the move into administration allows them the opportunity to be a change agent, to overhaul curriculum, or to be an instructional leader over an entire school.

Yeah, right.

If most administrators were honest, they would admit to moving into administration for a far less academic and romantic reason.

Most people make the move out of the classroom for the money

I am sure that many readers of this blog won’t want to believe this, but I am here to spread the truth (as I see it).

At first glance, this reason may seem a bit selfish; but I don’t think there is anything wrong about taking a new job primarily for the money.

Good teachers get to the point where they don’t want to grade any more papers, tell students to sit down for the thousandth time, or teach the same lesson for the 15th year in a row.

They need a change; and more cash.

Teachers are just like everyone else; they have responsibilities, bills, and kids who are going off to college in a few years.

So taking a new position with a considerably higher salary is often too good to turn down.

And who has ever found themselves in a position where they have too much money? Not me. Not yet (but just like retirement, keep your fingers crossed for me).

That being said; my advice is never make the move from the classroom to administration just for the money. It isn’t worth it.

You can’t put a price on your time or sanity. And if you do, you will regret it.

In a few short years, I have already seen a lot of new administrators come and go.

They take an administrative job for the wrong reasons and then find themselves making decisions just to keep their new position. And that almost never works out.

In an odd way, I think you have to treat the job as something you may not have tomorrow. And with every decision you make, you are one step closer to that becoming a reality.

So after all of this incoherent rambling my advice is; yes, it is worth it. While tiring and stressful, it is a privilege to be in charge of a group of students and teachers.

You have an opportunity to make real changes that impact the entire student body.

Every teacher should have this chance at least once in their career (more regarding my theory on rotating principals later).

Becoming an administrator is the best decision I ever made.

I am just not sure it is forever. And I am pretty sure that won’t be my decision.

I just try to remember that I went into education to teach; not write handbooks, suspend students, work on construction projects, supervise games, or evaluate staff.

It is worth it; just don’t do it for the money.

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5 Responses to “Teacher to Administrator: Who Needs More Cash?”

  1. Tim
    on May 14th, 2008
    @ 6:55 pm

    Thanks for the post. I will look forward to the “rotating principal” bit.

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