PUPIL CONTACT CRUCIAL FOR HEADS, DESPITE THE EXTRA WORKLOAD
YOUNG principal Zoe Stewart is what every school system in Queensland needs.
The 31-year-old is in her first year as leader of St Patrick’s School in Mitchell, with plans to stay on for many more years. She also teaches technology and health and manages two other teachers at her 25-pupil school.
“I am young and fresh so I have a long way to go, but I can see that after a certain amount of time, the red tape can bog you down from the real job,” she said. “I love that I am able to be in the classroom as well as dealing with other issues as principal, like curriculum and planning.”
As the youngest principal in the Toowoomba Catholic Diocese and a mother of three, Mrs Stewart arrives at work by 7am to run the breakfast club before switching to teaching then dealing with parents and friends and enrolment issues.
“Everything I do, there’s paperwork involved. I can’t get away from it, but with the support I have from the diocese, it means I can do the paperwork and still have time and energy to help the kids,” she said.
After 22 years at the top, retiring principal of Marian Catholic School in Townsville, Karen Pearce, has seen a rise in paperwork, which she managed by working 60hour weeks and during holidays so she could still have pupil contact during class time.
“I went into the role of principal because of the kids and I love it, but if you want to keep that passion, what you do during the day is talk to parents, the community and be in class,” she said.
“So, when do you do all this paperwork? In your time at night or on the weekends.”