Three Things I Wish My NEW Principal Did Right Now
It must be intimidating stepping into a new position as a principal and working with teachers of many different subjects, personalities and strengths. Yet, the more I teach, the more I realize that building personal connection between administration and teachers is what helps the teachers succeed. there is no better way to be a good principal but to know your staff. Before a new administrator gets to their desk and starts the paperwork, they must first take the time to get to know the people they will work with. This is how problems can be anticipated and issues avoided. This is how the principal can make plans for the future needs of that specific school community. Here is what I wish my new administrator did at my school before insisting on anything else.
Ask questions! Get to know me a bit
We all enter the profession with hopes of changing children’s lives. At the same time we all have different knowledge and talents. Most music educators enter the profession because of a sincere desire to touch lives trhough music. We all wish our story is heard! We all want out passion for music to be shared by other staff members and supported by the school. Many of us have extra music ensembles we play with after school, special goals for the music program at the school. Principals who are sensitive about that can help the art programs at a school grow.
Get to know my teaching so that you can make OBJECTIVE judgements about my work.
Forms and paperwork are important. But really, are you working on getting to know your teachers’ work? I have specific procedures, rules, ways I communicate with students and parents. Knowing that and observing me teach will make it so much easier to handle problems objectively when they arise.
Back me up….PLEASE!
We are a team and have to work as one. Kindness and support mixed with strong boundaries can go a long way.
This time it was personal…
I have been developing a music program for ten years now and I have always had a great relationship with my administrators. They have actually changed quite a bit at my school. I guess that is not uncommon. This past semester we had a new assistant principal. Things were quite different with that person.
I had a very unpleasant situation where a student broke a school property while I was gone and there was a sub in the room. On the next day, after disciplining the kids about it the parent of the chid responsible found a great way to turn things around. Without accepting much responsibility about the school property she accused me of not treating her child right while disciplining afterward. That parent completely lashed her anger at me at the principals office. She would interrupt. The comments were rude, disrespectful, and they kept coming.
If I knew then what I know now I would have simply left the room.
What did my new administrator do? Seeing that the situation was going south she took the side of the stronger part in the conversation. The parent. This administrator knew nothing about my teaching. She knew very little about actually happened. She just wanted a way pf of the uncomfortable situation though.
These situations unfortunately happen to all of us, teachers. But the lack of mediation during the conversation, and the lack of understanding for my side of the story made me feel completely devastated. My new administrator did not know much about me, the way I handle parents, and about my personality. The situation was uncomfortable for both of us. It was handled in a way that made me question my work at the school and my practice there. I wished I had received a bit more kindness and support, even if she disagreed with me.
This story is now long behind me. But I can truly say that it was the most unexpected from of disrespect I have endured as a teacher. Which again makes me think that handling people is ALL about being personal and understanding the people you work with.
Our work is so difficult that kindness never goes unnoticed.
What do YOU wish your school principal did right now?