I was just talking with a friend whose son is in his second year of teaching. During that entire time, his principal has been in his classroom only once for a 10-minute “walk-through.”

With all we know now about the importance of school leaders, it’s really pretty shocking that such inattention to teachers can still be happening.

But when I say that “we know” about the importance of school leaders, I also need to acknowledge that not everyone understands that school leaders are essential elements in the functioning of a school (and in attracting and retaining good teachers, as I write about this week in Huffington Post).

To try to give a clearer picture of the role principals play and what it is they actually do that helps their schools improve, The Wallace Foundation funded a series of videos produced by WNET that focus on different aspects of the job of school leader.

Anyone interested in what expert principals do — that goes far beyond “walk-throughs” — should take a look at these videos.

There is a lot to the job, from shaping a vision to creating a climate to cultivating leadership in others. At about 12 minutes each, the videos show what those things look like in practice and give a real sense of life in schools. They’re worth watching.