Teachers' perspectives of principal care
Lanman, Kathleen Fourez
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The purpose of this study was twofold—to explore teachers’ perspectives of principal caring characteristics (strategies, behaviors, attitudes, values, and goals) and to determine the perceived effect of principals’ caring on teachers’ classroom instruction. The study was conducted under a framework of symbolic interactionism. Data were collected from teachers who had experienced the phenomenon of principal care. Face-to-face interviews were conducted, recorded, and transcribed. Grounded theory methods were used to conduct a thematic analysis of the data; 13 categories explaining teachers’ perspectives of principal care emerged from this analysis. Findings from this study indicate that reciprocal support is the underlying theme to teachers’ perception of principal care. Teachers who felt supported by their principal on both personal and professional levels described a higher level of job satisfaction and commitment to improvement. Four themes that were considered essential to the understanding of principal care emerged from the data: (a) reciprocal care and loyalty, (b) innovation and growth, (c) response to needs, and (d) open communication. Implications for further research, administrator training and staff development, and principal hiring practices are discussed. Based on this study, attention should be paid to the affective as well as the technical aspects of leadership when making decisions about principal training and hiring practices.