Turkish school principals' earthquake experiences and reactions
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Purpose - The main aim of this paper is to explore the elementary school principles' experiences and reactions toward two earthquakes, which hit the north-west region of Turkey on August 17 and November 12, 1999. Design/methodology/approach - A qualitative methodology was used since the goal of the researcher was to delineate the experiences and reactions of school principals in such an unexpected natural disaster. Data included interview and official documents and was analyzed through content analysis. Findings - The findings indicated that school principals considered earthquakes to be an unexpected phenomenon. Second, while school principals considered earthquakes as a negative experience in the short term, they considered it a positive experience in the long term. Third, they felt the earlier regulations prepared by the Board of Education for natural disasters, such as for earthquakes, were not adequate. Finally, school principals lived through mixed emotions between their professional careers and their families. Research limitations/ implications - School principals' experience may inform future policy, practice and research about school leaders. Originality/value - The lessons learned from this article should be helpful, not only to schools and other educational departments, but also to other organisations in Turkey. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.