Emotional Aspects in the Transition From Teaching to Assistant Principalship

Rinat Cohen, Chen Schechter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The transition from teaching to assistant principalship is a turning point in a teacher’s professional career. This transition not only reflects a change in one’s hierarchical standing at the school but also constitutes a stage that affects one’s administrative identity and aspirations to further advance in the management arena. Despite the importance of the assistant principal’s position in the school, there is a lack of worldwide research on the transition process from teaching to assistant principalship and the emotional aspects of this process. This study’s objective is to examine the emotional challenges faced by teachers as they enter the position of assistant principal. It is based on a qualitative study in which 23 assistant principals were accompanied during various stages of their entering office. Thirty-seven semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted (some of which were repeated interviews, conducted a year after the initial interview). In addition, four focus group interviews were conducted with newly appointed assistant principals. The research findings indicate an unexpected emotional ordeal on entering the role of assistant principal, often including stress, fear, crying, insomnia, fatigue, regrets, and guilt feelings. The conclusions and recommendations provided by this study may enable educational systems and colleges of education to recognize the emotional challenges that new assistant principals may face, thus addressing their needs by offering them mentorship, training, and support programs fit to deal with this unique position in school organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-365
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Reform
Issue number4
Early online date27 Jun 2019
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • assistant principalship
  • emotional coping
  • entrance into a role (induction phase)


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