The Not-So-Secret Diary of a Principal
Primary school principal of St Brendan’s Ns, Blennerville, Tralee, Co. Kerry.
I love my role as school Principal, in particular it’s variety and the daily interactions of all within the school community.
I have an Instagram platform where I share my philosophy, it’s called @positiveprimaryprincipal
My alarm goes off…
@6:30am, I shower, have a bowl of cereal (porridge in the winter months!) and leave for school.
I am in school for roughly 7:30am and I enjoy this time in school in the morning to gather my thoughts. I write down my daily checklist which mainly contains priorities and general admin such as follow up phone calls and emails.
The caretaker and I are roughly in at the same time in the mornings and we take turns buying the morning coffees from the local shop next door to the school.
I really value this time and chat with our school caretaker as I rarely get an opportunity during the school day to have a conversation with him that is not work related. We talk sport mainly and I look forward to these chats every morning.
Psst… check out our blog-post on morning routines HERE.
I am responsible for…
Ultimately everything once I step foot inside the school building!
I am lucky enough to have a superb team of dedicated staff and the workload is distributed but I am acutely aware of the fact that I am solely answerable and accountable for everything. This can be an overwhelming thought but I see my job as a privilege.
I see leadership as not being about being in charge, but about taking care of those in your charge. I have a duty of care to both children and staff and that is always to the forefront of my mind.
My typical day...
No two days are the same!
I am an administrative principal and I ensure I get to visit classes as much as possible, I love to touch base with both children and teachers and to witness teaching & learning in action.
I visit classrooms to give birthday certificates & lollipop to the children who have birthdays, I also visit to give a hot chocolate to the students of the week in each class. I also enjoy going on the yard to converse with the children.
Meetings, phone calls, paperwork form part of nearly every day and I try to leave school at a reasonable hour every afternoon.
The best part of my job is...
Witnessing children happy and learning in school.
We as a school staff place a huge emphasis on pupil well-being and it is fantastic to witness our various initiatives bearing fruit. I enjoy interacting with all facets of the school community and receiving feedback from parents.
I also get huge satisfaction form interacting with staff, assisting staff and learning from staff along with working together as a team for the overall benefit and education of our pupils.
The most challenging part of my job is…
Juggling everything, it is an extremely busy role whereby the buck stops with me and this has its own pressure. One has to be courageous, I have to have the courage to make the difficult decisions, the courage to have the difficult conversation with staff or parents and the courage to stand by those decisions.
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…
The staff I work with each and every day who give their all and utilise their expertise to educate our pupils. I ensure to make all staff aware on a regular basis that they are appreciated and valued as much as possible, this is one of my priorities as a principal.
I switch off once I leave the school! I engage in mindlessness activities. I try to exercise daily and watch an episode of a Netflix series. I have learned that whatever pops up late on any given evening can wait until the morning unless it is an emergency situation as one can often rush into a response to an email or a phone call late in the evening when tired and regret it afterwards.
The motto I live by…
Practice what you preach or change your speech!
School principals must be consistent and lead from the front, talk is cheap and one must be willing to row in and show all within the school community that you are a team player and that your motivations are genuine.
A huge thank you to Robbie for sharing his not-so-secret diary – we love the idea of birthday certificates and lollipops! Sounds like a lovely place to be every day!
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?