Teachers Versus Principals Essay Sample

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Did you know that teachers in China and Germany are highly respected? They hardly ever leave the profession and are reasonably paid. Did you know that teachers in England are poorly regarded? Did you know that the U.S. spends a below average amount of it’s wealth on teacher salaries when compared with other nations? Did you know that employment of elementary, middle, and high school principals is projected to grow by 10 percent from 2010 to 2020 due to increases in enrollment? The remainder of this paper will attempt to compare and contrast two high demand professions, teachers and principals. Although these professions have a lot in common, they also have major differences.

How are teachers and principals alike? Principals are teachers and teachers are leaders! They are the basis of our nation’s educational system. With the right training, support and work conditions, they both strive to help students achieve at high levels. Both professions require higher education and a license, whether it is a teaching license or an administrator’s license, in order to be hired into a school district. They are both passionate about education. Principals and teachers work as a team when dealing with teaching, learning and disciplinary problems. They both are decision-makers; teachers make decisions at the classroom level to support student achievement and principals make decisions at the school level to support student achievement. Teachers and principals ultimate goal is achieving student success.

How are teachers and principals different? They have different roles and responsibilities. I’ll start with teachers first. A teacher’s main responsibility is using best practices to teach content to students. They are required to grade papers, carry out duties, maintain safety and order in the classroom, and utilize data to track student growth. The average starting salary for teachers is $31,704 per year, not including supplemental pay for extra duties. The average teacher makes $43,302 per year. Teachers must hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and pass a Praxis exam to get licensed to teach. In summary, teachers manage the day-to-day operations of their classroom. They set goals and objectives for individual students and evaluate their student’s progress toward meeting them. Principals, on the other hand, have more responsibilities than teachers. They manage the day-to-day operations of their school. They set goals and objectives and evaluate their school’s progress toward meeting them. To become a principal, most school districts require principals to have a Master’s Degree in Education Administration or Leadership. Most principals also have experience as teachers.

The median annual wage of principals was $86,970 in May 2010 (Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals, 2012-2013). Additional duties of principals include supervising teachers and other school staff, such as counselors and librarians. They observe and monitor teachers to evaluate their effectiveness, and arrange professional development to support teacher growth. In a sense, teachers are the principal’s students. Principals make sure that staff has the tools and resources they need to do their jobs effectively. They discipline students and help teachers manage students’ behavior. They also review test scores and other data to assess the school’s progress toward local, state, and federal standards, manage the school’s budget and finances, and advocate on behalf of the school to ensure it has the necessary financial support. In conclusion, teachers and principals are alike and different in many ways. Education is a key component of life. It takes both, a principal and a teacher, to effectively collaborate in order to give students a good education. Although they have similar and dissimilar duties, the ultimate goal is student achievement.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals, Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos318.htm.

Facts about Teaching Salaries. Retrieved from http://richteachersclub.com/?page_id=294.

IES National Center for Education Statics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=28.

National Center for Education Profile of Teachers 2011. Retrieved from http://www.ncei.com/Profile_Teachers_US_2011.pdf.

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