So first and foremost, who is a head teacher? A head teacher is the seniormost teacher within a school. They are responsible for the effective management of the school and for making sure that everything is running smoothly on an everyday basis. Headteachers play a critical role in a variety of educational institutions including primary schools, secondary schools, sixth forms, and colleges. Unlike the other teaching staff, the head teacher does not teach students in the classroom. Instead, they spend time using their years of experience motivating and managing their staff and students.
The Role of a Head Teacher
The role of a head teacher comes with a variety of important responsibilities. In addition to providing expertise and guidance, headteachers need to also have an influential presence within the school community because they are the ones who are ultimately responsible for the educational and academic achievements of the school. It is their responsibility to create a productive learning environment for both the staff as well as students. However, they also have to take care of the finances of the school and administration.
The other main responsibilities of a headteacher include:
- Creating and maintaining school policy and rules.
- The management, discipline, and motivation of staff
- Making sure that teachers have access to important educational resources
- Overseeing the process of recruitment within the school
- Developing and maintaining an organized, rewarding, and positive teaching and learning environment
- Listening to the staff and students regarding their issues in school and reacting accordingly
- Working with governors to ensure that funding is distributed as per requirement
- Offering the school with an educational vision
- Conducting and overseeing school events
- Keeping up to date with new educational innovations and technologies
- Ensuring that parents are informed about school news as well as their child’s development
- Reporting the performance of the school and developments to the local community
- Resolving major behavioral issues with students
- Working with the police and other emergency services to ensure the safety of everyone on the school grounds.
Skills Needed To Be a Head Teacher
The role of a head teacher comes with a great deal of responsibility and pressure. It is very important for head teachers to be able to deal with the situations that arise in school on a daily basis. Several principals get this experience by working as teachers for many years beforehand. Having experience working in schools helps them to understand and empathize with their staff and students. It also helps refer back to their experience to understand the best ways to deal with problems. There are a variety of important skills that a head teacher should possess to be successful in their role, which include:
- Good leadership skills
- Excellent time management abilities
- Strong knowledge of teaching
- Being approachable to parents, staff, and pupils
- Effective communication skills
- Having the ability to be firm when necessary
- Great interpersonal skills
- Being organized
- Being able to work as part of a diverse team
- A desire and ability to work with children
A head teacher is the highest position that a teacher can reach within the education sector. Hence, having exceptional academic abilities and achievements is vital to being successful in this role. There are several different ways for teachers to reach this level in their careers.
Those that apply for the role are often judged on the basis of their years of teaching experience. They need to also have a background in some form of educational management role, like in the role of a deputy headteacher. For someone to become a teacher and work their way up, they must have the following qualifications:
- A-levels or equivalent higher education qualification
- A higher education degree, that can either be in teaching or, for secondary teaching, be relevant to the subject the head teacher wishes to teach
- Several years of teaching and management experience
The amount of time required to become a head teacher can vary greatly on the basis of the circumstances. Various factors are taken into consideration which include:
- The qualifications of the teacher
- The length of time they have been teaching
- How their experience and qualifications compare with their competitors
It is not uncommon for head teachers to stay in their role for several years at a stretch. While this is good for stability, it can effectively limit the opportunities for other teachers to progress into more senior roles. However, this can be solved by relocating to another school or just waiting until the position opens.
One way for headteachers to progress in their careers is, as mentioned above, to move to a larger, more challenging school. This will lead to an increase in their pay as well as give them a new opportunity to develop their skills. Headteachers may also decide to drop their teaching role entirely and move on to a more senior role in the field of education. For example, they might decide that they want to become an education consultant or a teacher trainer.
Hopefully, this covers almost all the aspects of a head teacher’s academic career and the skills required to be one. A head teacher’s list of responsibilities is numerous, so before planning on going down this path, make sure you have the conviction, charisma, and character strength to take on this role. A huge level of responsibility follows this role, so be prepared to face the consequences of running a school, however hard it may seem.
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