Welcome to the second part in a three week series I’m doing on How To Succeed In Teaching. As I said last week, this is a question I am asked a lot and of course it is impossible to develop an exhaustive list. However, I am attempting to answer this question and this week is all about ‘relationships’.
(If you happened to miss last week’s post, you can check it out here.)
As teachers, we are in the people business. And people are all about RELATIONSHIPS. Without effective relationships, we cannot possibly be effective teachers. The two go hand-in-hand.
At school, our relationships with the other staff members in the school are crucial to the level of ‘success’ we experience. It’s one thing to be a great classroom practitioner, but if you have no contact or interaction with your colleagues then you are missing out big time.
When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.
William Arthur Ward
There are 3 important relationships you need to develop:
1. Make an effort to build a relationship with the principal
Be a teacher who adds value to the life of the school by building a strong working relationship with the school principal. Where appropriate, keep your principal ‘in the loop’ about what is happening in your classroom and what is happening around the school. Don’t be an unknown person who slips in and out of the school.
A word of caution: use wisdom in this. Most principals are busy and they have to make many decisions every single day (most of which you wouldn’t know about) to keep the school moving forward. In my experience, all principals love good news! So don’t take your problems to the principal, share your good news and ‘wins’. This is what teaching is all about – sharing the good times! (The same applies to your immediate boss/staff oversight. Keep them in the loop and tell them some good news!)
2. Get to know all the staff members
One of the quickest and surest ways to make a positive impact in your school is to be a teacher who is genuinely interested in others. Find ways to get to know the staff in your school. A great tip is to jot down their names and write down something that will aid you in remembering names, such as a distinguishing feature or conversation or the place where you met them. Everyone appreciates someone remembering their name so this is a great place to start – learn the names of every member of staff (and I mean every member – do you know the name of the cleaner? They are just as important as you are.)
3. Appreciate the administration staff too
I love admin staff! They make an incredibly valuable contribution to the school and it saddens me to see how often they are overlooked and treated as less-important than the ‘real’ staff members – the teachers. When was the last time you said thank you to the front office staff who faithfully answer phones and deal with parents and manage many of the inner workings of the school. Do you know all their names? Learn the names of the office or administration staff. Say hello and goodbye to them. And always say thank you! Work on developing a good relationship with them and be a teacher who genuinely appreciates what they do.
This week’s assignment:
Do a relationship audit by thinking about these questions:
– How are your relationships with other staff members?
– In what areas do you have good relationships?
– What specific relationship/s need your attention?
– When was the last time your shared some good news with your Principal and your immediate boss?
– In what ways can you improve your relationship-ability, your ‘relate-ability’?
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly,
Enjoy the moments.