There are a plethora of resources out there for teachers and principals – organization tools, student management tactics, teaching tips… so why more? Not more. Just the ones that you might have overlooked or forgotten. The ones that have a long-term impact on our work relationships and career success.
Here are 9 things that any teacher or principal can do that will positively affect both the day-to-day operations and the overall culture of your school.
1. Stop Being Friends…
When it comes to students… be friendly, but not their friend. They do not need to be aware of or involved too deep in your personal life. This boundary will create a space for respect and mentorship.
If you are the principal… your staff looks to you to run the school, not to be their friend. Give them confidence that this is where your focus is.
2. Involve Parents
No matter what the students are telling you or how “mature” they seem to be, remember that they are still kids. And that means that parents are an elemental part of their kid’s education.
Turn to them for insight and maintain a constant conversation with them.
3. Look the Other Way
You are going to be tested – make no mistake. What you need to remember is to not react to things that your students do that is only done to get a reaction. Make sense?
If you can, be at events, concerts, plays, and games. If you can’t be sure that you ask about them the next day. If a student is acknowledged publically, take the time to do so one-to-one. Building this connection with be priceless should things get tough in the future.
5. I wish you knew…
Make a spot in your class or by your office where students can drop in a note with an “I wish you knew…” message. It’s a safe and private way for students to share with you what might be going on in their lives.
6. Make it Comfortable
Flexible seating can help the learning environment AND the school culture. Offer comfortable seating in classrooms and offices to break down barriers and create a more “sharing” environment.
7. Find the Superpowers
Within your class and within your staff are people that have hidden talents that should be utilized. Empower those people to use their talents to help you do your job better. And value those contributions.
8. The Written Word
Remember how you felt the last time you got a thank-you card? Exactly. When someone does something for you or goes out of their way to make things better, write them a thank-you note. Take ten minutes to boost those around you.
9. Take a Vacation
Don’t wait for things to slow down or for opportunity to present itself. Plan a vacation away from your school to recharge your own battery. You need a break. You deserve a break. Self-care is vital for our educators and leaders – it will be reflected in your students and make you a better contributor to your school community.