It seems at times that there is an expectational mismatch occurring because the “professional” and “personal” nature of relationships becomes confused.

The school principal is professionally responsible for teachers and ultimately accountable for the job they do within classroom situations. If the principal is a person who regards members of staff as “friends”, there is a possibility the friendship will get in the way of professional expectation. It may well be that the friend is a quite mediocre teacher needing a lot of support. Ultimately that support may lead to performance management issues – or should do!

If the person needing development is a mate or close friend to the principal, professional mediocrity might be forgiven and overlooked. If discounted, then students will suffer.

On the other hand, the teacher may be an excellent professional doing a quite outstanding job but at the same time be a person who is not appealing to the school leader. It can be that people who are not liked, are also not respected and valued for the good job they may be doing in a professional context. These people can be put under the hammer with life being made intolerably hard for them. In the end the only option might be that they move on to other appointments.

If that is the case the school and ultimately students taught by this excellent teacher become the losers.

It’s critically important that principals and school leaders do not confuse the “professional” and “personal” elements of relationship.

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