Putting together the pieces of me : an autoethnography of a teaching principal in an exceptionally small rural school
de Gooijer, Joyce
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Two factors—role duality and school size—impact teaching principals’ abilities to fulfill their roles and responsibilities. Principals with significant teaching loads experience “role duality” a situation in which one person fills two distinct roles. Teaching principals experience role tension and conflicts between professional teaching concerns, leadership demands and management issues. Further tensions are created when policymaker’s demands fail to recognize complexities around the roles of a teaching principal working in a unique context (Dunning, 1993; Wilson & McPake, 2000). Specifically, though the tensions of role duality are known to be more challenging in small schools, exceptionally small schools are a different context altogether. My autoethnographic study examined the complexity of my teaching principal’s role in an exceptionally small rural school. It was guided by a central question: How does the context of an exceptionally small, rural school impact upon a teaching principal's role(s)? Sub questions included: (a) How do stakeholder expectations (school staff, community, division, Ministry) impact a teaching principal’s roles and responsibilities in an exceptionally small rural school? and (b) What challenges and opportunities does a teaching principal face in an exceptionally small rural school? Documentation from two daily personal journals and my ‘what I do’ log during the 2009 – 2010 school year provided research data. My analysis focused on three themes: fractured roles, capacity to meet expectations and establishing relationships. This study added to current research rich narratives describing the impact of an exceptionally small school on a teaching principal’s role.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteePrytula, Michelle; Claypool, Tim; Cottrell, Michael; Burgess, David
Copyright DateDecember 2010