The Role of the School Head in Improving the Academic Performance of Students
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It has been interpreted over the years that all the hard work is done by the teachers in the school. The school head is often seen as the one who sits in the office, flipping pages of whatever, or signing this or that. In the actual sense, the school head is trained to be a workaholic. He/she is trained to manage every single person in the school; the teachers, parents, students, non-teaching staff and other stakeholders of the school. At the end of school hours, teachers and student can go home for the day leaving the school head behind. Even when the school is not in session, the school head is still engaged in preparing for the new academic session.
The success or failure of a school is usually attributed to the school head. He or she is the pivot around which many aspects of the school revolve, being the person in charge of every detail of running the school, be it administrative or academic. The academic success of every student should be the priority of every school head, as the purpose of the school is to impact knowledge. One factor determining the success of students’ academic performance is the leadership of the school head. This week article evaluates the role school heads play in improving the academic performance of students.
Before we kick start, let’s review some challenges school heads face in helping students perform well in their academics:
The school head is faced with a number of challenges that emanates within the school such as difficult school boards, uncooperative teachers, lack of resources, students’ indiscipline and the like. Yet they are faced with ongoing pressures to show good results in national examinations while at the same time dealing with a growing number of management duties such as budgeting, hiring personnel, mobilizing resources etc.
Uncooperative teachers can mar all effort made by the school head towards the teaching-learning process for the improvement of the academic performance of students. These class of teachers display unprofessional characters such as regular absenteeism, unheeding to instructions, irresponsibility towards teaching duties all attributing to lack of passion for teaching. Because these teachers are in closer contact with students their attitude towards their job can affect the academic performance of students.
Students’ indiscipline towards learning is another challenge school head are faced with. How do you help a student that is not willing to learn? The passion of learning is not cultivated in some students. It either they are not at school regularly or they don’t participate in the learning process.
Lack of resources is also a hindrance to school heads, be it human resources, financial resources, physical resources or information resources. Human resources include administrative and staff labour, financial and physical resources include capital the school uses to finance both on-going and long-term operations, school supplies, learning material, school equipment, and lab facilities. All these lacking factors limits the school head in performing his/her roles in improving the academic performance of students.
The role a school head should play towards improving the academic performance of students
- The school head should be a teacher evaluator: School heads should be responsible for the evaluating of teachers’ performance. An effective school has to have effective teachers and the teacher evaluation process is in place to make sure that the teachers are effective; the school head has to adopt a platform whereby he can measure the performance and manage his teaching staff, a very efficient one is SchoolShell. This all boils down to the qualifications of the teachers hired, and that brings us to the second point.
- The School Head role is to hire qualified teachers: A vital part of any school administrator’s job is to hire teachers and staff that are going to do their job correctly. Hiring the wrong person can cause you huge headaches down the line while hiring the right person makes your job easier. The interview process is extremely important when hiring a new teacher. There are many factors that play into a person being a good candidate for you to hire. Those include teaching knowledge, personality, sincerity, excitement towards the profession, etc.
- The school head role is to provide a conducive learning environment: effective school heads developed school climates and cultures that help motivate both the students and teachers leading to the creation of better teaching and learning environments which are more conducive to higher levels of students’ achievements.
- The school Head should engage in the instructional activities: the school head is an instructional leader. He/she is the pivotal point within the school who affects the quality of teacher instruction, the height of student achievement, and the degree of efficiency in school functioning. Various instructional activities that influence students’ performance include provision of teaching and learning resources supervision of teaching/learning processes, visiting classrooms and checking teachers and students work, employment of teachers, motivating students’ progress and promoting teachers’ development among others.
- The school head should provide adequate instructional resources: the school head influence classroom instruction by supplying teachers with necessary resources. Providing resources includes more than just monetary resources and materials. Providing resources includes; scheduling, developing the school calendar, hiring and correctly placing teachers, improving teachers’ productivity through training, adopting textbooks and purchasing necessary materials to support instruction. School heads influence student achievements through helping teachers acquire necessary resources to support instruction. The lack of resources may be a barrier to the use of some instructional strategies by teachers.
- The role of the school head in Student Discipline: A large part of any school head’s job is to handle student discipline. The first step of having effective student discipline is to make sure that your teachers know what you are expecting when it comes to student discipline. Once they understand how you want them to handle it, then your job becomes easier. A good principal will listen to all sides of an issue without jumping to conclusions collecting as much evidence as you can. A school head role in student discipline is much like that of a judge and a jury.
To wrap it up nicely, School Heads are catalyst of change. Innovative school heads explore various ways to improve the instructional activities of the school, which in turn improves the academic performances of students. In this technological driven age, activities of the school be it instructional or administrative is been digitalized daily. School heads should embrace such a positive change and also adopt platforms to simplify the teaching-learning process.
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