Lingokids: Growin’ Up - Professions & Jobs for Kids

How to Become a Principal

November 04, 2022 Host: Emily Calandrelli. Guest: Alexa Sorden. Story by Sabrina Walasek. Sound Design: Juan Delgado. Season 1 Episode 10
Lingokids: Growin’ Up - Professions & Jobs for Kids
How to Become a Principal
Show Notes Transcript

Do you think you can be the boss without being bossy? Do you like helping others be better at what they do? Join us as our host Emily Calandrelli meets Alexa Sorden, the principal who transformed a low-performing school into one of the highest-performing in New York State, to discover what it takes to become a principal.
Discover fun activities and songs that will teach your child all about collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication in the Lingokids app! 💙

Speakers: Lingokids.

Speaker: When I grow up, I want to be a principal of a school.

Speaker: What does being a principal mean to you?

Speaker: When kids are in trouble they go to the principal's office.

Speaker: They rule the school.

[music]

Speaker: When I grow up--

Speaker: Want to be a pilot with a uniform white always flying high up in the sky.

Speaker: When I grow up--

Speaker: Want to be a firefighter putting out flames,

or maybe a police officer keeping people safe.

It's so fun to learn what you can be growing up.

Growing up.

Speaker: When I grow up--

Speaker: I want to be an artist that paints portraits,

I want to be a scientist that does experiments.

Oh so many people you will meet.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Emily Calandrelli: Hi, and welcome to Growin’ Up with Emily, a Lingokids podcast helping amazing kids to grow up and be even more amazing, and Emily, it's me. As a kid, I was always asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I wanted to be so many things. Does that sound familiar? Then, I am glad you're listening, because you're going to find out what it takes to be anything you want. Are you ready to make school your superpower?

Speaker: Yes.

Speaker: Yes.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Speakers: Lingokids.

Emily: Last episode, we met Helsie, a real athlete who shared with us a few tricks about gymnastics. Today, we're in New York City exploring the job at the top of the school pyramid, the principal. Yes, the principal's office is a place some kids go when they've broken the rules, but this is not a job for meanies. Principals have big hearts. Do you like to solve problems and take charge? If you've ever dreamed of being a principal, you won't want to miss this episode. Today, we're going to meet one of the greatest, big-hearted principals on the planet

[music]

Speaker: Growing up.

Speaker: Growing up.

Emily: Do you know why principals are everyone's friends?

Speaker: No. Why?

Emily: Because they have pal in their title. Princi-pal.

Speaker: Ah, I get it. Princi-pal. That's funny. You know what's funny? The principal at our school, Mrs. Hadley, talks into a walkie-talkie.

Speaker: Mr. Brown, the cafeteria needs to be ready by 10 o'clock.

Speaker: Roger.

Speaker: Wait, who's Roger?

Emily: Roger is a walkie-talkie word. It means, "Message received and understood."

Speaker: Oh.

Emily: Principals make sure everything is running smoothly in and around the school. They can only be at one place at a time, but they have to talk to people working all over the campus. In an emergency, principals need to communicate quickly. That's why they use a walkie-talkie.

Speaker: Roger that.

[laughter]

Emily: Hey, did you know that early America had one-room schools?

Speaker: With kids of all ages learning together and only one teacher?

Emily: Yes. Then, in the early 1800s, the population grew. Schools had classrooms for specific grades. One teacher would be the head teacher who taught and acted as principal.

Speaker: If I were a head teacher, my head would explode.

Emily: You're right. That tells you what an incredible individual a principal is. Don't forget, principals have bosses, too. They report to the superintendent of the school district. What else do school principals do?

Speaker: My principal, Mrs. Hadley, pops into our classroom to watch. Does the teacher get a grade like we do?

Emily: Not exactly. Principals visit classrooms to support learning and suggest ways to improve teaching. Adults are just like kids, always learning, always growing. Guess what's happening at our guest principal’s school today?

Speakers: What?

Emily: A science fair. Everyone is here, teachers, students, parents, and members of the community.

Speaker: I love science.

Speaker: Let's go.

Emily: Want to hear a joke before we enter?

Speakers: Oh, no.

Emily: Come on. You’ll love it. How did Ben Franklin feel when he discovered electricity?

Speaker: Excited?

Speaker: I know this one. He was shocked.

Emily: You got it. Thankfully, he didn't get shocked. That would have been dangerous.

Speaker: Oh, boy. Let's go see some real science.

Emily: Okay, okay, okay. I've already checked in with the school secretary. You need to wear a nametag to show you’re a guest. School safety and security is another big, big principal job.

Speaker: That's super important.

Emily: One of the reasons we're meeting the principal is because she and her dedicated team transformed a run-down, neglected poor school into one of the highest-performing schools in New York State. Talk about a real hero. This woman changed the lives of hundreds of kids.

Speaker: Incredible. This school looks like an A+ now. Cool stuff is happening everywhere. I'd be proud to go to this school. Look, Emily, that must be her at the stage.

Emily: Oh, yes, that's her. Here's our chance. Are you ready to meet a real principal?

Speaker: Let's do it. What's her name?

Speaker: Her name tag says Alexa Sorden?

[music]

Emily: Hi, there principal Sorden. I'm with Lingokids and we want to find out what it takes to be a principal. Can we ask some questions?

Alexa Sorden: Sure. Absolutely.

Emily: Great. First off, how long have you been a principal?

Alexa: I have been a principal for 10 years. That's an entire decade.

Emily: Wow, that's like a lifetime. Well, at least for some of our listeners. Maybe you can give us some tips at the end on how our listeners can start learning these skills, especially if they want to be principals. We also received some excellent questions from our Lingokids listeners.

[music]

Speaker: Mrs. Sorden, do you have to get to school before everyone else?

Alexa: Yes. The principal should be the first person in the building because you want the principal to be there to greet everyone as they arrive. However, I have an assistant principal. My assistant principal is the person that's there before everyone and I'm the one that’s there after everyone goes home. I stay late and I close the building.

Speaker: Mrs. Sorden, how do you handle troublemakers?

Alexa: We do start with a conversation, because I want to know what's happening with you today. Why are you not your best? For example, if a student in third or fourth grade does something that does not reflect respect, then that student gives back time. They'll spend their recess time with a younger student helping that student with greeting or playing games with that student because now they have to give back to the community.

Speaker: Emily just told us how busy principals are and it sounds like a very difficult role. Why did you want to be a principal?

Alexa: I wanted to make a difference. When I was a student, I didn't have a great educational experience. School was very boring. The teachers did not connect with me or my other classmates. School felt like a place where parents drop you off and then pick you up. I wanted to be able to create a place where learning was fun and children were excited and they felt loved and they knew that you saw them. I see you, I say, "Hello, how are you, Maria? Hello, how are you, Charlie?" I see you today, so a place where they are loved, acknowledged, and that they can reach their true potential.

Speaker: How do you reach into your potential? What does it mean?

Alexa: Maybe your friend is great at reading and you're not. That's okay, because maybe you're great at math. Maybe you're great at art. Maybe you're amazing at dance. School should be a place where we discover our many talents and where we know that we are all different. That's what makes us wonderful because we can learn from one another.

Emily: Wow. Thanks for sharing with us.

[music]

Emily: Alexa, what can kids do now while they're still growing up to become a principal?

Alexa: Being a principal is about being a leader, and leaders need to dedicate themselves to the goals of the group.

Emily: Kids, what are some group activities you like to do?

Speaker: I play soccer and I'm pretty good. I want to be the team captain and win a championship.

Alexa: It sounds like you have developed the physical skills to play soccer. One of the things that you want to think about is, "Can I be a role model to my team members? Am I modeling how to play fair on the field?" How can you have others be able to follow you as the leader in the game so that as a team you are all excellent at soccer?

Speaker: Yes. I score and I'm the goalie, but some teammates are beginners. They are not so good.

Alexa: Think about one thing that you do well. When thinking about soccer, say like, "Well, how do I dribble the ball with my foot? Is that something that I could show my teammate? Maybe we could practice that one skill over and over again," so that they get better at it and they see your strategy and you share it with them.

Speaker: I can't wait to try that left-footed goalie.

Emily: To be a soccer leader, you must talk with your feet and play with your heart.

Speaker: Got it. Thanks, Emily and Alexa. I like to paint and draw with my friends. How can I be a leader?

Alexa: When I think about someone that's an artist like my daughter-- She's an amazing artist. She loves art. One of the things that I talk with her about is like, "Well, if you want to have a group of artists, then why don't you think about organizing an art show? Together with your friends, you can help share your love and passion for art with people from the community."

Speaker: Wow. An art show. That sounds fun. My neighbor owns a café. I can have an art show there. I'll paint posters and put them around town.

Alexa: Don't forget about the other artists. As a leader, you want to be able to share your idea with all, so that it makes everyone feel included.

Emily: Yes. The project should feel like 'we' instead of 'me'.

Alexa: Exactly. You want to be the boss without being bossy.

Speaker: Roger that.

Emily: We hope you enjoyed this episode of the Grownup Podcast. Even if you never planned to be a principal of a school, it's great to practice leadership skills. How do you lead by example? Make sure you subscribe to the Lingokids podcast so you can learn how to be any thing you want.

Speaker: To have a full interactive learning adventure, check out our Lingokids app with tons of games and activities for endless fun.

Speaker: It's so fun to learn what you can be

Growing up

Growing up.

So, come join us

Growing up

Come everyone

So, we can learn while having lots of fun.

Because it's so fun to learn what you can be.

Yes, it's so fun to learn what you can be

Growing up,

Growing up,

Growing up.

Speakers: Lingokids.

[00:12:46] [END OF AUDIO]