Thursday, February 13, 2020

Visible and Available

Teacher-centered principals visit classrooms all the time.  They do so without doing official walkthroughs.  They visit without looking to coach or guide the teacher.  They visit to simply give praise and notice something good!  If the teaching and learning aren't exactly easy to praise, the principal can talk to kids.  Build relationships.  It only takes minutes!

A teacher-centered principal is available.  An open-door policy means that teacher can walk right in when the door is open.  The door doesn't always need to be open.  Close it when you need to.  Leave a note on your door stating why it is closed.  Teachers typically respect the amount of work principals do.

Being available also means making sure you are available before school each day.  Walking around the building before the tardy bell rings can do wonders for your visibility and your availability.  Likewise, walking around after dismissal does the same thing.  It doesn't need to be every day, but often enough for teachers to see you regularly for no specific reason at all.  It is tough when you need administrative support just a bit late and there never seems to be an administrator around.

Personally, I believe the principal should almost always arrive prior to anyone's morning duty each and every day.  If the first teachers hit their duty spots at 7:05 a.m., I believe the principal should be on campus by that time most days.  It is disheartening for teachers to see the campus administration rolling in after the official start time for all teachers.  Personally again, I believe the campus administration should stay extra late every now and then and walk around the building.  It is important to touch base with the teachers who stay late.

A teacher-centered principal also asks for feedback anonymously on a regular basis.  It is important to do so more often than the annual district survey.  Principals should ask often enough so that teachers believe that their input is valued.

Visible and available.

***  Also, teacher-centered principals make these things happen realistically.  If you are the last one on campus for a couple of evening events, give yourself some grace and sleep an extra 30 minutes.  If you need to leave once a week a few minutes early to see your own kid's basketball game, by all means go!  ***

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