Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Walk the Talk

There are plenty of folks to tell us that the job of a campus administrator is to create a culture for teachers to thrive.  They tell us that the principal has the power to mold a school culture either positively or negatively.  An excellent school culture for teachers makes an excellent school for student learning.

"We do what is best for kids!"

This is definitely at the heart of what good schools do.  Successful principals spend a great deal of time doing what is best for teachers.  In a teacher-centered school, principals walk the talk.  The principal makes sure his/her actions match his/her words.

For example, if the school leadership spends time talking about engaging lessons, then every PD opportunity needs to model engagement.  Don't give teachers feedback about engagement levels in their classrooms if you don't ask them for feedback during your faculty meetings.

Another example, every time you interact with a kid in front of the staff, you are modeling how you want them treated.  Every time.  Sure, there may a few outliers that require a much more stern interaction.   The teachers know which kids are the outliers.

Also, teaching is not an eight-hour-day job.  Teachers are expected to get it "all" done regardless of how many hours it takes.  Principals need to model that willingness as well.  Sure, teachers and principals can take work home.  School leaders also need to model a willingness to occasionally stay late and support the teachers who stay at school after hours.  Principals should be one of the first ones in the door every day too.  Model your willingness to be there!

A final example, make your own personal learning and improvement efforts transparent.  Teachers are expected to get better throughout the year.  Learning and improvement is a never-ending process for teachers.  School leaders need to publicly share their learning and improvement efforts.   Share your goals.  Get their feedback.  Model your desire to improve and the work you put into it! 

If you say that your BIG ROCKS are higher-level thinking skills, kind and considerate children, and writing across the curriculum, be sure that pretty much everything you do touches on one of those rocks.  It can't be a big rock if you rarely address it.

A teacher-centered principal walks the talk.

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