Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Faculty vs. Administration

Education Expert Advice from Barbara Callaghan

Q: Dear Mrs. Callaghan,
I am a teacher at a school where the administrator makes life hell for teachers. We are constantly criticized and belittled. There are old, archaic books. Meetings are used to denigrate us and tell us that we are not doing a good job aand we can be replaced at any time. The discipline code at our school is a joke. I am breaking out in terrible rashes and have what seems to be nightmarish insomnia. I want to continue to teach, but not at this school. How can I apply for another job without this evil and vengeful principal finding out about it? Do I have to use her for a reference?

I am not yet tenured, but will have my certification and a masters within the coming year. I hope that I will not have to give up teaching because of one person's attempts, which have been known to be successful, to destroy other people's lives through humiliation, victimization, intimidation and constant threats of retribution. Please help or the teaching world will lose another young hopeful still hanging on by a thread!!!

A: As a teacher you are evaluated by your principal and to a degree, by the parents of your students. Whether or not you have tenure has very little impact on your situation. What would you do differently if you had tenure? Tenure does not guarantee that you will have a job. If you had tenure and the principal wanted to get rid of you, she would be obligated to tell you about your deficits and help you remediate so that you could be successful. Please don't think that tenure would solve the problem.

Do a little self-evaluation and determine what type of leadership you work best under, what your philosophy on discipline is, how you prefer to receive critical analysis. Some things you can't control and others you can change. Once you have determined your strengths and best working conditions, match it to what your situation currently offers. You may have a very poor match, and it could be time for you to move on and find a better situation.

It would certainly raise a red flag if you apply for a new position but do not give your previous principal as a reference. Be very up front in your cover letter and with your current principal as to why you are leaving (not a good match between demands of local school and personal philosophy on teaching). Be sure to tell the principal all the good things you learned while at her school. While stating all the positive things, you are also giving the principal the information you want relayed in his/her letter of recommendation. Before you apply for a position at another school, make sure you are a good match for the expectations and philosophies of that administration.

More on: Expert Advice

After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks