I am currently in the phase of life where my kids (ages 9, 5, & 2) are constantly telling me to watch them. The phrase “Dad, look at me!” is said countless times a day. They have the inherent need to be recognized for what they are doing. However, if an adult was to call out like that, “Hey! Boss, watch me!” we would no doubt shame them for calling attention to themselves. Why is that? As adults do we have the same need and desire to be recognized? Of course we do. It doesn’t change as we grow. What does change, is that we start ignoring that in ourselves and others. A great quote I keep coming back to about this is from George Bernard Shaw, he said: “The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.”

The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.

How powerful is that? Simply by showing indifference, we are demonstrating the opposite of love. Those times that we feel compelled to say something, or share a compliment, but stay silent, we are not showing love. We are missing connections that may have been.

When I moved to 7th grade, the dreaded middle school, I changed schools. I had to make that transition knowing no one. Not a soul. While I was never the quiet student in the back of the class, I now became more outspoken and the class clown. I was craving attention. I needed to be recognized and validated at a crucial time in my life. Because I wasn’t receiving it, I continued to act out and be that annoying student in the class. I look back at that time and shudder now as an educator. I don’t know how my teachers put up with me, but they did.

Let me share something that I’ve never shared with anyone before. I recall one time I wanted to be noticed during those junior high years, so I started to write my name in the font style of the band Slayer. Being in a conservative community I thought that might spark some concern and I’d receive the attention I was craving. But alas, it didn’t work. How laughable that I thought writing my name in a heavy metal band style would give me the attention I needed, but I was so desperate at that time I was willing to do anything.

So the next time you have that annoying student in a class that won’t knock it off, they might be a mini-me seeking the attention they need, but not sure how to do it.

Teacher Appreciation Week

Celebrating the great things that happen to you or go on in your school raises everyone’s energy. Celebrating is one way we demonstrate that schools can and should be places of joy and fun.

Lead With Culture

This last week was teacher appreciation week. As discussed in previous posts, this year has been tougher than most on our faculty because of teachers having to be RIS-ed because of declining enrollment. I felt like we had an opportunity to celebrate our teachers and didn’t do as great of a job as we could have. There were many factors that played into this, but ultimately as the leaders in the school, it falls on our shoulders.

Good leaders know when and how to recognize others and allow them to be the star.

Kids Deserve It

After talking it over with some colleagues, they felt like enough was done, but talking with teachers they felt like more could have been done. Some of the colleagues I spoke with I highly respect, and rarely disagree with, but I couldn’t agree with them this time. I don’t think we can ever celebrate our teachers enough. We can’t recognize them enough for the work they do. Having over 100+ teachers in our building it’s easy for them to feel like they get lost in the shuffle. Having one of the largest high schools in the state is tough for a number of reasons, but the top one is that students and staff feel like just a number because there are so many.

Celebrations not only show off the great things in your school but also recognize the greatness of the people who make the school special.

Lead With Culture

I met with a fellow assistant principal late Friday and we made a list of all the national appreciation days or weeks that apply to our schools and put it in a calendar. That way we can be ready as they come up next year to celebrate with our faculty and staff.

So let’s do what we can to ensure those we work with feel recognized and rewarded for the incredible work they do. Every. Single. Day.