We Don’t Want Sympathy Or Empathy

Celebrate the Rodney Dangerfields of Public Education | Diann Woodard

“…principals are the Rodney Dangerfields of public education — we get no respect for the demanding work of our calling.” 

I wouldn’t say “we get no respect”, but I would concur with her that a lot of what we do cannot be quantifiably measured. While we can all appreciate Ms. Woodward’s sentiments, seeking sympathy or empathy isn’t going to change the perceptions of principals.  In fact, it may do the opposite.

In a bit of a push back, I would add that principals shouldn’t do the job expecting constant accolades; you knew when you stepped into this arena that the vast majority of people have very little knowledge of what a principal does and is responsible for, therefore, they wouldn’t hold you in high regard in all matters; you knew when you accepted the job that you are going to be judged every day through your words, writings, and actions, therefore don’t speak, write, or act like a Rodney Dangerfield (I made that mistake once and I paid for it); you knew that being the principal requires that you prove yourself every day – your past performances will amount to little tomorrow if you violate public trust or commit malfeasance. 

So don’t expect daily, weekly, or monthly affirmation.  Just do your job every day in accordance with your moral and ethical values, state code, local policy, and in the best interest of your faculty and students.  The respect you will need should begin with yourself.


Author: Michael Parent, Ed.D

Father, husband, school administrator in NJ. "Education cures poverty".

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s