Once the school year begins, things get busy, and rarely do teachers have a chance to sit down and really chat with their administrators. Often, it seems like the only conversations teachers are able to have with principals are quick, on-the-fly, two-ships-passing-in-the-night exchanges on the way to specials or lunch.
But on that rare occasion that you get a chance to really talk with your principal, what does he or she really, truly want to hear from you?
1. They want to hear that you love your students.
We’re all here because we love kids and we love teaching, right? Principals want to hear that you are giving every student a chance and a fresh start in your classroom every, day. They want to know that you have high expectations for each students and that you personally believe that each one can—and will—succeed this year.
2. They want to hear that you love coming to work each day. (And if you don’t love coming to work, what can he or she do to help you?)
Some days it’s difficult to get out of bed and get to work. Teaching can be hard. It’s a job like no other. Sometimes—especially the day after Back-to-School Night—the alarm sounds way too early. But for the most part, your principal wants to know that you love your job and you love your school.
3. They want to hear that you know where your students are performing.
Knowing where your students are performing means that you’re aware of where students need to be and where they are currently. It means that you have a sense of which student is reading at what level and how that student compares to the rest of the class.
It means you’re keeping data on your students and what that data means.
4. They want to hear that you call or email parents for “good things” that happen in the classroom.
Take a few minutes each week to share some good news with parents. Is one student working particularly hard? Did someone go the extra mile to help a fellow classmate? Has someone overcome a challenge? Let those parents know!
5. They want to hear that you call or email parents when you have concerns about a student.
Parents must be kept in the loop, and teachers are really the first line of defense. No parent likes unpleasant surprises at conference or report card time. So if you have a concern about a student’s behavior or progress in your class, then be in touch with parents as soon as possible.
6. They want to hear that you are willing to be flexible.
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This is a tough one. Being flexible is not always easy—we get that. But being a team player in a school is key, especially when everyone works so closely together, trying to do the best for each and every student.
Being flexible when it comes to schedule changes and being a positive part of the school “team” is key.
7. They want to hear that if you are experiencing a problem that you have brainstormed a few solutions.
Many principals are running schools with very small or non-existent admin teams, so the more help you can give them in terms of solving problems, the better. It doesn’t mean you have to come up with a clear-cut, end-all, perfectly-packaged plan, but having some ideas about how your issues can be rectified could make a big difference in how quickly it’s fixed.
In your experience, what do you think principals want to hear? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, what to do when you get a lukewarm observation.