by Amelia D. Soni
Being a school head or a school principal is undoubtedly both an honor and a responsibility. It is an honor for it will serve as a validation of one’s hard work, determination, excellence, and perseverance finally paying off in the world of academe as they become the highest official inside their beloved schools. Add to it the fact that in terms of economic stability, the position’s salary grade will really be a greater help to them. But on the other side of the coin, the principalship is indeed a very tall order. Basically, you will be working as a president of a country. You have to micromanage all the teachers, departments, students, and staff under you to build up your school as one that showcases competitiveness, conduciveness, orderliness, and other adjectives attributed to a good scholastic environment.
As per the book of The Wallace Foundation titled “THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL AS A LEADER: GUIDING SCHOOLS TO BETTER TEACHING AND LEARNING”, education research shows that most school variables, considered separately, have at most small effects on learning. The real payoff comes when individual variables combine to reach critical mass. Creating the conditions under which that can occur is the job of the principal. If performing the duties and responsibilities of a principal sounds hard, getting there and being qualified for the position is also a tedious thing to do. You have to go through a meticulous selection process mandated by the Department of Education in the case of our country which is the Philippines. According to Teacher.org, one of the organizations of educators here in the country, if one should aspire to become a school principal, one must have one to five years of teaching experience in a subject area. They will also need a master’s degree in education, educational leadership, or educational administration which is of course a high-maintenance investment in itself.
Lastly, they need to pass the examination to become one. The point-system is also the main reason why it is difficult to land in a position. Department of Education released the DepEd Order No. 85 series of 2003 or GUIDELINES ON THE SELECTION, PROMOTION, AND DESIGNATION OF SCHOOL HEADS, the four main criteria of promotions are merit, competence, fitness, and equality per what is stated in Republic Act 9155. To qualify for the test, the aspirant must be any of the following: Master Teacher I for at least two (2) years, Master Teacher II for at least one (1) year, Head Teacher for at least one (1) year, Teacher-In-Charge for at least two (2) years, Teacher III for at least five (5) years. Hence, the breakdown of the criteria is Performance Rating for 40 points, Experience or outstanding accomplishments for 35 points, Education/Training for 20 points, Potential for 2.5 points, and lastly Psychosocial attributes and personality traits for 2.5 points summing up for 100 points in total. The highest pointer usually gets an item for promotion first. When you already become a school principal, another challenge will come your way as there is what we call Principal Ranking. Like any other position in the academe, principals also have rankings. This will determine what kind of school and how big will be the school they will be holding. For you to be promoted, you’re in for a demanding qualification. To climb to Principal II from being principal I previously, you need to take an additional 6 units of management, 8 hours of relevant training, and 1 year of experience as principal I. Similarly, from principal II, you need to take another 6 units of management, eight hours of relevant training, and two years of experience to become Principal III. Then to seize the highest rank for principally which is Principal IV, you need another 9 units of management, eight hours of relevant training, and three years as a principal III. Add to it the challenge of getting a Very Satisfactory rating for three straight years in the position you previously held. This system is what we call the ‘ladderized’ system. Imagine this whole arduous fiasco of being a principal and being promoted to higher ranks, it is really very difficult. So ultimately, principals should work very hard in their rightful positions so that all of their insurmountable efforts will not go to waste. They need to work with their subordinates harmoniously so that they can achieve the results that they want for the betterment of their school. On the other hand, teachers, students, and staff should also be very respectful with dealing with the principals for they will not arrive at their current positions if they did not sacrifice many things. A principal’s success does not only lay on his excellency and greatness as an official but also with how cooperative and efficient his/her co-educator will be. As they climb the steep ladder just to foster leadership excellence, I hope we avoid making their jobs much harder.
About the Author:
AMELIA D. SONI, is School Head at Mountain Heights High School, Sdo Caloocan, Ncr, Philippines