Careers: Teaching/Possible Interview


My name is Sarah. I am doing a project and would be interested in possibly interviewing you about being a former principal. My project is about potential jobs that I am interested in and learning more about them. Would you be interested in doing a possible interview with me over email?

ANSWER: Dear Sarah,

I would like to know the number and types of questions before agreeing to it.


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QUESTION: The number of questions would not exceed 10. The type of questions would be about your job as a principal. What inspired you to be a principal, the ups and downs of being a principal, etc.

ANSWER: Okay. Ask away.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Here is the list of questions:
1) What inspired you to become a principal?
2) What downfalls did being a principal have?
3) What is a typical day as a principal?
4) What was the most rewarding aspect of being a principal?
5) What would you tell someone who is thinking about a job as a principal?
6) How would you describe the work atmosphere and the people with whom you worked with?
7) What did you take away from being a principal?
8) What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?

Also, I want to thank you for taking the time out to do this for me. I appreciate it!

1. I had been a teacher for a number of years, in a number of different capacities. It seemed to be a natural progression.
2. You get blamed for things other people do, but have to take the heat because it's immature to put the blame on someone who works for you. Also, sometimes regulations are made by people who are above you and you don't agree with them but have to carry them out anyway.
3. The best thing about being a principal is that there is no typical day. You may plan something and then something happens and you spend the entire day taking care of it. But generally, the day is spent mostly with kids, teachers, and parents. You should be outside when the kids are outside, walking through classrooms during the teaching periods, and talking to parents and teachers in between.
4. Making sure the kids get the education they deserve. That's what I kept my eye on, everyday, every year.
5. Make sure you understand what teaching is, before becoming a principal. In order to make good decisions, you have to have had a lot of experience in all phases of education. Make sure you like people and their various quirks, because you will have to deal with everyone kindly and fairly.
6. As principal, you get to make the working environment the way you want it to be. I always strove for friendly, easy going but hard working, acceptance of small quirks but absolute rejection of anything that might affect children adversely.
7. I developed a good ability to read people and their motives. But primarily, I feel proud of what I accomplished over the years. This was my life's work (apart from my family) and I am happy when I look back on it.
8. Excellent academic skills are imperative in order for the staff to accept your judgement. Also, it's important to be open to new ideas, but not a pushover for something new just because it's new. You must be able to deal with people in highly emotional matters without becoming emotional yourself.

Good Luck!

Careers: Teaching

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Bonnie Shimmin


I can answer questions about teaching and learning in grades K-8, having taught all those grades. As a former principal I can discuss techniques and responsibilities in administration of public schools. I am especially familiar with California laws and educational history. I have no personal knowledge or experience with home schooling or private schools.


Public School Teacher in grades K-8: All grade levels - specializing in English and Social Sciences. Specialist in Gifted and Talented Education. Specialist in Categorical Program Evaluation. Administrator (Principal or Assistant Principal) in elementary (K-6) and middle schools (6-8).

Retired Principals Association UCLA Alumni Association

"What if...?" In-frequently Asked Questions by Principals "My Brain Makes Learning Fun: Gifted Students Speak Out" Vols 1 and 2 Yearly Categorical Program Evaluation Reports

B.A. from UCLA in English with a minor in Social Sciences. M.A. from California Polytechnic University in Education, specializing in Instructional Technology and Media CA Elementary Credential - Life CA Secondary Credential - Life (English & Social Sciences) CA Administrative Credential

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