One way to gain Mr Principal’s attention.
Why does a TL need the support of the principal?
Strictly speaking the principal of any school is predominately concerned with student achievement and funding (Farmer, 2007). Of course it helps if they are a nicely natured individual, however a TL must not forget that as principal they are held accountable for all aspects of school management and have no choice but to cull programs and positions that are viewed as lacking in contribution. Oberg (2006) describes the principal as an ‘enabler’ as they hold the power to provide budget support and additional staff thus ensuring the make or break of the TL (Hartzell, 2003).
How does the TL gain the support of the principal?
Organizational politics are common within all workplaces and schools are no exception (Hartzell, 2003). The TL must work smartly to promote the library as a vital resource to students and teachers – worthy of a place within the budget. This work must be visible, aligned with whole school goals and provide a service/support to teachers (Oberg, 2007) and then promoted and advertised. As well as making the principal look good, the attention will highlight the value of the library and the contribution the TL is making to organisational goals. Without such attention, school administration are not aware of the significant value of the TL (Haycock, 2007).
What are the consequences if TLs do not play ball?
It is impossible for modern TLs to operate in isolation and will face major challenges in doing so. To exist only within the confines of the library is begging for qualified TLs to be overlooked by powerful sponsors and consequently excluded from the school budget. Principals are now being asked to achieve more with less financial support (Farmer, 2007) and a TL who is not utilised will be replaced perhaps by a librarian or teacher aide – costing less and without a teaching qualification (Combes, 2013). This lack of curriculum knowledge would mean collaborative planning (Haycock, 2007), guided inquiry and higher order thinking tasks would not be conducted sufficiently.
Combes, B. (2013, April 4). Pulling it all together [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://forums.csu.edu.au/perl/forums.pltask=frameset&forum_id=ETL401_201330_W_D_Sub14_forum&message_id=6317903
Farmer, L. (2007). Principals: Catalysts for collaboration. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 56-65. Retrieved from http://collaborateinservice.wikispaces.com/file/view/Principals+as+Catalysts.pdf
Hartzell, G.N. (2003). Building influence for the school librarian: Tenet, targets and tactics. (2nd ed.). Worthington, Ohio: Linworth Publishing.
Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13 (1), 25-35.
Oberg, D. (2006). Developing the respect and support of school administrators. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 13-18.
Oberg, D. (2007). Taking the library out of the library into the school. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(2), i-ii.