Each summer I am able to reflect on the previous year of school. It allows me to readjust my daily habits so that I keep first things first. As the only administrator in my building, I’m making a pledge today to be in the classrooms more this year, but the reasons may not be what you think.
As the lead learner of my school, it would be crazy to become disconnected from the classroom. But as every administrator knows, unless you make class time intentional, it won’t happen.
I won’t go into the exhaustive list of responsibilities that administrators carry, but believe me, you could literally work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, and still not have everything covered. The most important decision I make from day to day is discerning what things demand my attention.
As I grow in my leadership, I’m discovering that I can delegate anything except my presence. This single thought has encouraged me to rediscover what is most important in education….the people in my building. So here is why I am going to be spending more time in the classroom:
- I want to learn from my teachers. I came from a Jr-Sr High background before becoming principal in an elementary school, which means I had no training in reading strategies or this age group. By getting into the classrooms these past few years, I have learned so much from watching my teachers interact with the kids. Their demeanor, their discipline, their strategies have all taught me so I can better teach those who struggle. It’s become a highlight of my day.
- Because the students need to know I’m interested. Remember, students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. They should see you more often than in the hallway or when there is trouble.
- Because it gives me a better understanding of a teacher’s skill. I believe most teachers desire to improve. How will you be able to help them if you only observe them two or three times a year?
- Because the great teachers love it. Great teachers want little more than to be recognized and appreciated. It strokes their egos when the boss drops by to just watch, especially when it’s not for evaluation purposes. They love what they do and they crave the opportunity to show you.
- Because the poor teachers don’t like it. Teachers who do a poor job will always continue to do a poor job when left on their own. Many administrators are genuinely scared to go in their rooms for fear of conflict. But I’ve found that dropping in on these teachers will do one of two things. Your presence will make them so uncomfortable that they will either change their ways or leave the organization. Either way, you’re making your school better because of it.
Question: Where do you wish your administrators would spend more time? What are your thoughts about them being in the classroom more often?
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