Discussion in 'General Education' started by YoungTeacherGuy, Mar 9, 2017.
Mar 9, 2017
...does your admin do to make you feel valued?
My old admin would have her door open at all times and welcome me in if I ever needed to talk. My new admin, I have to make an appointment with their secretaries and their doors are shut and they never have time to talk.
My old admin also took the time to build a personal relationship with me, and often pushed me to do more because she noticed what I was strong at and how it could help the rest of the school. She regularly gave me positive feedback, and not just negative (though she let me know when things needed changing). My current admin only calls you in to chew you out, and never mentions anything good you do, unless they're required to as part of the evaluation process.
Most of all, my old admin took it upon themselves to remove obstacles in the way of us doing our actual job: teaching. Meaning they were out there doing watch duties, and taking students in for lunch detention when needed, and making themselves available when there was an irate parent, and taking care of stupid forms and hoops to jump through, allowing us to focus on the classroom. Our new admin delegates forms and more forms and more hoops to jump through to us, making our job mostly just one of putting out fire after fire with no end in sight and more responsibilities continuously being heaped upon us. They also take up our valuable time with useless meeting after useless meeting EVERY SINGLE WEEK where they inform us of each of these growing responsibilities.
When my P asked me to write her a letter of rec, I made sure to mention all of these things, and I was amazed that she didn't even realize that she was doing all of these things for us.
My admin financially supports my program. When I ask for materials, I usually get them.
At my previous school, I felt terribly undervalued. Although I had been at the school for about a decade, I felt that admin didn't really know me very well. I suspect that there were a few administrators who wouldn't even have been able to give my name if asked. Many times I felt like I was invisible, and I can recall several situations where admin helped inspire those feelings. For example, I was once in the principal's secretary's office when an administrator and his wife came in. The administrator introduced his wife to everyone in the room...except me. He literally had to reach around me to point out so-and-so to his wife. He made no acknowledgement that I was even present in the room. While it didn't matter to me in the slightest to not meet this guy's wife, the whole thing felt terribly rude and dismissive, like I was some peon or something. Another time they were handing out awards for something, maybe like perfect attendance or something. They mispronounced my name when they read it off the paper. I don't think my name is all that hard to say. I guess I feel like if a person matters to you or to your team or school or whatever, you take the time to learn their name if nothing else.
My administration is excellent about planning observations that are just that, nothing more (on top of the official and required observations). Just to be a presence in the classroom, take a few nonjudging notes that don't count against us. It makes me feel like a professional.
I'm pulling out the best of my previous two admins:
- thanks us, publicly, for all we do
- ensures that the parent community hears his words of appreciation for the staff
- open door policy
- deals with the "small" complaints from parents that go directly to them
- listens to the needs and concerns of staff
- did all they can to make sure that we are able to just teach
- connect with the students and make themselves visible--in classrooms, on the playground, in the halls
- show a genuine interest in the students and their accomplishments--no matter how small
- communicate to staff that "family comes first"
My administrators are a combination of all the good things posted in the previous comments. Excellent people to work for! They go out of their way to make sure they tell me how valuable I am to them.
My principal tells me on a regular basis that he's glad he hired me, and that he's enjoying watching me grow into this new school. I feel very valued.
My principal does all of the above and more! I love that he gets to know us on a personal level and can joke around. Not everything is serious! It makes it more enjoyable!
(I'll add that good administrators ask what they can do to help staff feel valued. YTG, you're a treasure.)
I only have 32 teachers at my site. I feel as though I know them very well (spouses/significant others, kids' names, etc.)
Having a good attitude, giving positive feedback, and doling out rock-steady discipline every time a kid is sent his/her way.
At my first school my P and AP used to write notes to us and put them in our boxes, at least once per quarter. They would write an entire paragraph about good things they'd seen us do, things they appreciated about us, etc. It was really individualized and not just, "Thanks for being great!" I loved that. I used to keep all of my notes in my desk and I would pull them out when I was having a bad day. I think even just verbally praising people is important. So many teachers just want to hear a "thanks" for all of the things they are doing.
The other thing about the notes in boxes thing was that it was for every staff member, every time. I think some other systems are built on good intentions, but end up causing even more problems because it looks like admin is playing favorites. For example, my current admin used to do shout outs at staff meetings, and then abruptly quit. She recently told us that she quit because so many people claimed she was showing favoritism. I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but it was often the same people that she worked more closely with (and therefore saw more things they were doing first hand), like the counselors that were being recognized.
I am a substitute but at my favorite school the principal thanks me for coming in everyday when she sees me and is always happy to see me.
From previous and current admin:
Never expected something of us that they couldn't do themselves. They often covered classes when needed, did recess duty, etc.
Handwritten notes at the beginning and end of the year.
Shout outs in the weekly newsletter for hard work, birthdays, etc.
Asks us how things should be done. Things weren't just mandated. If an initiative was bad in the eyes of staff, we didn't do it.
Surprise donuts and coffee
Spent money on team building activities like hiking, dinner, etc.
Included teachers on hiring committees for their teams
Mar 10, 2017
Nothing. But leaving us alone and not being a helicopter P is thanks enough.
An admin of a school I've put in a lot of sub days for simply dropped in and acknowledged my management of a very difficult class. I'll admit, it had taken everything I had in me to do it right. I'm okay with the fact that subs usually get extremely little feedback since we're temp, but those few seconds meant so much to me. If I'm visible there, I bet the teachers are getting a really healthy level of communication, too.
This doesn't really happen at my school, but I really appreciate being able to have input into changes that are happening, even just some of them.
Genuine compliments are good too. It feels nice when someone from admin walks through and later says "That (specific) activity you were doing was great! Everyone was so engaged!"
Also, I like when admin respects our time. If something can be said in an email instead of a meeting, do that. If there's no reason to have a meeting on a meeting day, say that, and give teachers time to catch up on work. That's always appreciated!
My admin always had my back with parents. She often volunteered to be 'bad cop' so I could maintain a positive relationship with my students' parents.
She left positive notes on my door after walking through - stuck a post it note celebrating what she'd seen.
She supported mental health days and forced me to take one at least once a year.
When I went to her with anything she always asked, "What do you need from me?" in the kindest, most supportive way possible.
What to do:
A former P would write notes to each teacher and met with us just to tell us how much we were appreciated. She's the only P in almost a quarter century to do that. It certainly stands out.
Several former Ps would made us feel as though they were glad to have us at the site. No one is irreplaceable but it's nice to not feel as though we are dispensable.
What not to do:
I like for a P to have great communication. If I have to guess how high I'm supposed to jump, I am constantly worried if I'm jumping high enough and in the right direction. It's hard to be an effective teacher when having to guess about school policy. If you want purchase orders to be written a certain way, I'd like to know that way BEFORE I turn it in. It sends the message that my time isn't valuable. So what if I have to spend an hour doing something over because my mind-reading hat wasn't working that day.
My P is super supportive and I know she has my back - for example, a parent called me a couple weeks ago absolutely FURIOUS (I managed to get her off the phone and all but ran to the office crying), and my P took a follow up call from this parent, talked her down, and gave me time to cool off before I went back to class. I don't know how to describe how she shows that I'm valued other than just how supportive and helpful she is. I know if I get overwhelmed or stressed I can talk through it with her (or with anyone on my team, really; my school is awesome in terms of supportive staff) and she offers both encouragement AND helpful suggestions for how to manage an issue in my class. I've never felt shamed by her for not knowing something; she's usually the one telling me to stop being so hard on myself.
The fact that she's so aware of how hard it is to be a first year teacher goes a long way - and she regularly comments on how much I've grown this year, which helps me be more confident in my teaching.
Mar 11, 2017
The school I currently work in (short term, part time contract) the Headteacher pops in to the classroom regularly to check the staff are OK and to praise us (in front of the kids) if we have done anything praiseworthy. Last week he loaned me to the school down the road for the day while they had the Government inspectors in so that I could take a bit of the strain off the Head of science in that school. The day after he came in to shake my hand and thank me!
The school also has a policy of no outside hours emails.
My current Head of Dept regularly thanks me for taking the strain off him regarding my timetable as he knows that he can just leave me to it and knows that I am delivering without him having to constantly monitor my performance.
Another school I worked in put on a free hot breakfast every Friday for all staff.
I had an observation with my principal this week and while our official post-observation wasn't until the following day, he popped in at the end of the day to tell me that while they were starting to get stressed about the position being open for so long (I started after Thanksgiving), he was really glad that it worked out the way it did because I've been such a good addition to the staff and so good for the students. I agree that specific, genuine comments like that, whether verbal or written, can be such a strong little boost. Someone else mentioned post-its. I had a VP last year who would walk through and then leave post-its with positive comments or encouragement. I saved them all all year and looked at them during tough moments.
My current P visits each classroom almost everyday. It's pretty impressive. We just sat down for our end of the year summative and she said she wanted to thank me for doing such a great job and gave specific examples of times I was awesome. It makes me feel like she is really noticing what I do. I think as teachers, we often super focus on what we need to do better that we forget to see the 10 thousand things we do awesome. So that was very nice!
How many teachers are at your site?
Up until last week, I would have agreed with most of you. I thought I had the best principal, but that turns out not to be true. If you have not read my post and have time, please do so. I posted it today. It's my first post here. I was searching for educators who could give me some much needed advice. It's titled, "HELP! Lost For Words". It's a very disheartening story. Thanks!
Mar 12, 2017
34 classrooms not counting specials but I think she pops into those rooms too!
Separate names with a comma.