The Not-So-Secret Diary of a Principal
My name is Elaine and I am the Principal of a school in Galway and the owner of the company EK Interview Preparation.
I am a busy mom of 7 amazing children – 6 boys and 1 girl.
I love my job – both the teaching and the leadership role.
I also enjoy working with other teachers and leaders, helping them to achieve their goals and aspirations. Through my work with EK Interview Preparation, I am lucky to meet a variety of aspiring teachers and leaders on a daily basis.
My alarm goes off…
Sometimes I get up, but more often than not, I will press the snooze button until 6am.
Most mornings, I do some simple stretches on my mat. It takes a lot of discipline as I’d much rather run downstairs and catch up on the laundry!
At 7am, the calm ends when I rouse my 7 children and then the chaos begins!
My husband takes the 15 and 14 year olds’ with him on route to work and I drop the 2 year old and 1 year old babies to my Mom’s and then head on to school with the 12, 9 and 8 year old!!!
Psst… check out our blog-post on morning routines HERE.
I am responsible for…
As Teaching Principal, I am responsible for the day to day running of our school and I also teach four classes- Junior Infants to 2nd class.
The ‘day to day running’ involves a lot of work…liaising with staff, parents, children, the Board and outside agencies; policies; taking calls and emails; pre-empting problems before they arise, etc.!
As a teacher, I am responsible for my classes and I work hard to keep my plans and lessons interesting and new – this is very important in multi- classes!
My typical day...
I arrive at the school at 8.30 am but more often than not, my Deputy Principal is there ahead of me, with the heat on and the kettle boiled.
I chat to the staff each morning and greet the children as they arrive.
I check my emails and then head to my classroom to fire up the flat screen and check my daily plans.
The day flies by juggling four classes and yard duty. I try to have lunch each day with the other teachers but sometimes I get caught up in the office as it is my only time to speak to my excellent secretary.
After school, I briefly speak to my colleagues and then leave the school about 3.15pm.
The best part of my job is...
is the children! I teach the Junior Classes and they never fail to bring a smile to my face. No matter what is going on in your own personal life, children have the power to brighten your day!
I also love the variety of being a Teaching Principal – I enjoy the Leadership Role and I feel I have the best of both worlds right now.
Psst… check out one of our EPV Summer Course for teachers “Fostering Emotional Resilience & Harmony in the Classroom” HERE.
The most challenging part of my job is…
finding the time to get everything done. When I first became a Principal over 7 years ago, I used to try to tick each thing on my To Do list daily. As time went on, I realised this was a pointless exercise and now I manage my time more effectively using the ‘Urgent/ Not Urgent’ matrix or I delegate to my DP and secretary.
Psst… If you want to learn more about how to prioritise your time, check out this blog-post about effective decision-making HERE!
I am inspired by…
many people- different people for different areas of my life. In my work life, I am inspired by my staff and pupils who work so hard on a daily basis and who gave their all during Lockdown, putting a huge effort into Remote Learning and Teaching. I am greatly inspired by my sister Valerie or Muinteoir Valerie – who works so hard but also takes the time to support and encourage me and others.
I leave school to pick up my babies and then I start the long evening of music lessons, Gaelic Football Training, Rugby, Irish Dancing, etc. depending on the day! I have six sons and one daughter and their activities keep me on my toes!
We finally arrive home around 6pm or 7pm, have dinner, homework (if not already done somewhere along the way), bedtime and then I start my Principal ‘To do List’ for that day and my work assignments for my company EK Interview Preparation.
I try to end my evening either by reading a good book, watching Netflix (The Bold Type is a new, light favourite!) or scrolling through amazing teacher and principal accounts on Instagram.
The motto I live by…
There are so many amazing mottos that I live by but I always strive to live by ‘Family First’. Another simple word I use a lot is ‘Reset’. When having a tough day, it is so important to pick yourself up and always try again tomorrow- press the Reset button!
A huge thank you to Elaine for sharing her not-so-secret diary – we love the idea of RESET!
Would you like to share your diary or like to suggest a teacher, principal or education professional whose diary you would like to read?!
Contact us at email@example.com to nominate yourself or someone else – ah go on!
Go on, go on, go on!
NQT Picnic is a specially designed online event for NQT’s in July 2022.
It is a daunting experience starting your very first teaching position – whether it is subbing or your own post! College seems like a long time ago now and you may be starting to feel a tad nervous.
Following the huge success of NQT Fest & Picnic in 2021, we are delighted to share this special event for NQT’s in July 2022 with you!
Free Resource for Teachers – End of School Year Activities!
What an exciting time of the year! Your main lessons and topics are complete and the pupils are getting excited for their summer holidays. It can be a challenging time to keep pupils engaged in classroom lessons due to exciting events on the horizon like school tours or sports days, so I like to keep things light and fun and still try to ensure the learning is taking place.
Ciara McGuane is the Summer Course Director for Rahoo.ie.
Her career highlights include being filmed by BBC London teaching in the classroom and guest-lecturing at the Institute of Education in London. She has worked as a teacher, school leader, teacher trainer and initial teacher training tutor prior to setting up Rahoo.
This is always a hot topic for teachers and so important to get it right.
Here are some mistakes that teachers have shared with us when they did our EPV Summer Course on Classroom Management with Niamh Byrne, Irish Primary Teacher.
We have dipped in and out of the CPD course to learn what to do instead!
Why do we remember the words of lyrics we haven’t heard in years? Why do some experiences stick in our heads more than others? Something made them memorable!
Make your lessons stick by trying to make some aspect of it different. This could be as simple as playing music (we have played classical music when students were working independently in the past) or hooking them into the lesson with mystery tasks or controversial questions that spark debate.
When planning ask yourself: What can I do to make this lesson memorable?