How many times have you seen problems schools where teachers say something like, “the ‘Admin’ need to do something about that,” or, “that’s the fault of the ‘Admin'”?

Too often and conveniently so, teachers are quick to use the term ‘Admin’, which is not particularly helpful in solving problems and can have a detrimental impact on school culture.

‘Admin’ is a general term often applied to a school’s leadership team, or is it? When we hear the term ‘Admin’ used in the context of the schools we work in, who or what are people referring to? When individuals in a school refer to the ‘Admin’, do they all mean the same thing?

Considering the above questions, there is no universally recognized definition. In some schools, the senior leadership team are often referred to as the ‘Admin’, whilst in others the use of the term may incorporate the support staff offices and other operational leaders in the school. Even the head of school, or the divisional principal, may be referred to singularly as, ‘The Admin’.

Generalizations, when it comes to raising problems, or for that matter, pointing the finger, when things are not going well are not particularly helpful.

As school leaders, we are charged with the responsibility of addressing the language used in our school buildings, both defining it and breaking it down, so that language is used positively to build school culture and generate school improvement rather than have language work against it.

The task for us leaders is, therefore, to challenge the labeling of a problem and general complaints that are made that have no specificity. When problems are aired they need to be done so in a supportive way. Restraint is required to reduce the incorrect assumptions that are commonly made and compassionate interaction exercised in the building of a school culture where problems are addressed together.