Neila Connors’ well-known book, If You Don’t Feed the Teachers, They Eat The Students (2000), serves as a favorite read for new and aspiring principals. It contains much sage advice for mentoring teachers and supporting their transition in the profession while offering wisdom to protect them from the ills and evils of the outside world. While the entertaining style gets the point across, the message underscores the fact that supporting teachers is a key role of a school administrator. Since the book was published, tremendous strides have been made to provide teachers, both new and veteran, resources to mentor and foster their continued development as professionals. While this process is not a finished effort, the work of supporting teachers will continue and has been forever included in the role of the school leader. Establishing professional learning communities, developing teacher leaders, and other methods for sustaining teachers are well-established in schools today. As this role along with numerous others continues to expand the work of the principal, however, it does beg the question, “Who is feeding the principal?” If Connors’ logic continues, we are led to believe principals might eat the teachers if they don’t get the proper care and attention. Clearly, accountability efforts at all schools have reached heightened levels with more and more expectations placed upon school leaders. In the current school climate, principals serve as the front line and CEO who keeps all aspects of the school running smoothly. Efforts to meet school improvement goals, improve student learning outcomes, and turn schools around at a rapid pace fall on the principal. Only recently (Wahlstrom & Seashore-Louis, 2010) has the research shifted from indirect impacts of the principal to more direct impacts on student achievement. Clearly, the principal is poised to make all of this happen; however, it is a lot to expect of one individual.
Rieckhoff, Barbara Stacy
"Support for School Leadership: Who is Feeding the Principal?,"
Journal of Educational Leadership in Action: Vol. 1:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lindenwood.edu/ela/vol1/iss2/5
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