Administration is a tough job and requires a lot of hands on the operation so that it goes smoothly. The principal is the head of the administration in a school or any other educational institution. So, while the role of a vice principal does, by its very name, sound important and admin-worthy, it still looks elusive from the outside - what are the duties of a vice principal in a school or college?
Who is a Vice Principal?
First thing’s first - who is a vice principal? A vice principal is the person who comes next in command after the principal of an educational institution. A vice principal is an essential part of a successful school as they can help encourage students and solve issues that occur on an everyday basis. They are often people who are passionate about education and want to offer better opportunities to students in their area of expertise. A vice principal is mainly involved in several aspects of administration and education may also evaluate new teachers and develop new curriculum. In small schools, there may be only one vice principal. Large schools often have more than one vice principal to help reduce the workload of the administrative team.
What Does a Vice Principal Do?
The role of a vice principal is in the school’s administrative functions. They handle various administrative tasks and meet with teachers to provide a better school environment. They handle student discipline and meet with parents of students to discuss the student’s behavior or address parent concerns. Even though principals still handle a lot of the major administrative tasks, vice principals also take on a large part of the administrative load. Some of the most common responsibilities of a vice principal are as given below:
Acting Principal in the Absence of the Principal
The vice principal must know all the roles and responsibilities of the principal so that they can take over in the latter’s absence. This is vital for the smooth operation of the school even in the absence of the principal.
Hiring and Training Staff
The vice principal is also responsible for hiring the teachers and training them for the course they have to take. The vice principal, just like the main school principal, does noyt get involved directly but makes sure that the teachers who are hired are capable as well as compatible with the morals and overall conduct of the school.
Planning Emergency Drills
Emergency drills are essential parts of situations where the students and teachers have to act quickly and think on their feet. The vice principal monitors mock drills for the students and teachers and makes sure that they are ready in the event that some problem does arise.
Meeting with Parents
If the principal is busy with other work, or the matter can be held by them, the vice principal can be charged with the task of talking to the parents because they are essentially the acting principal in the event that the principal is not available.
Handling Student Discipline
Student discipline is one of the primary concerns when it comes to managing the school effectively. The principal may split the workload with the vice principal to make sure that they do not get overwhelmed by the work and also make the process of administration easier on both of them.
Ordering Textbooks & Supplies For Schools
This task is actually taken care of by the clerical staff, but the entire ordeal needs to be supervised by a higher authority, something that a principal might not have the time to do. Hence, it would be better to have them supervised by the vice principal just to be sure there is no miscommunication or misunderstanding that takes place.
Handling School Clubs and Social Programs
Social clubs and school programs of that nature are quite necessary to foster and cultivate creativity in students, so it is essential that such programs are held regularly and conducted with the same zeal and enthusiasm as academic programs. Making sure that handling and taking care of such programs is a task that falls under the jurisdiction of the vice principal.
Planning School Improvements
Unlike in the previous cases, school improvements are personally overseen by the principal, the vice principal will be there to assist the principal. The duties of the vice principal can change on the basis of the school and the principal. In fact, many of the daily activities of an assistant principal can be considered to be in a sort of gray area, which means that they are not listed in the job description. Effectively, the vice principal must be ready to pick up any task that helps the school continue to function smoothly.
Educational Qualifications to Become a Vice Principal
In order to become a vice principal, the person will need to have both a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree, in addition to having several years of teaching or school counseling experience. Several vice principals have a BEd and begin their careers as teachers. Any education degree that can eventually lead to becoming a teacher can qualify a person to be a great fit for the job. After acquiring a teaching degree and spending some time in the classroom or school gaining some hands-on experience in the field, a master’s degree will be the next step. An MSc in Educational Leadership or simply a Masters in Education would be an ideal degree to pursue for those who want to become vice principals. These can help them develop key skills in law, curriculum, ethics, and finances that are valuable for the role and its responsibilities. These credentials and the skills that are required to acquire the role are crucial for taking the next step for a person looking to go down this path as a career option.
Skills Required to be a Vice Principal
Vice principals are individuals who need to be able to create better educational programs for students. They also have to naturally enjoy working with kids and be easily able to foster relationships with the students at their school. Vice principals need to have the skills given below as part of their daily tools:
Passion for Education
Vice principals need to have a passion for education themselves so that they can take initiative and model the curriculum for the students as per their requirements, which is ultimately a key part of their education.
Vice principals must be able to communicate with other faculty members, parents, teachers, and even the students on a daily basis, which means that they should have a continuing dialogue with every one of them. That means that they should have good communication skills as well as critical thinking skills.
Vice principals are in charge of multiple activities, meetings, and policies and they need to stay organized so that all of them can be coordinated with ease and precision.
Having great interpersonal skills can help vice principals communicate better and interact with all the stakeholders of the school which includes fellow faculty members, teachers, students and their parents.
Throughout the day, vice-principals must take out the time to discover new projects and tasks that can be completed within a given timeframe.
Nearly every administrative decision depends on the decisions of the principal and vice principal and they need to be able to make good decisions quickly.
Suggested Read - How To Become A School Principal- A Complete Guide
Vice principals need to be multi-skilled and work in a number of capacities. They are expected to handle tasks as they arise since schools have curriculums that keep changing regularly, as well as new staff, emergencies, and other problems that arise. Vice principals must be able to process and analyze information quickly to arrive at timely solutions for the overall smooth functioning of the school and its operations.