I came across this tweet the other day and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it:
If teachers should think about whether or not they’d want to be a student in their class, administrators should think about if they’d want to be a teacher in their school.
As a teacher, what is that you want or need from your administrator? What do you wish they knew?
I’ve only been out of the classroom for less than two years so I still remember interacting with my administrators as a teacher. I was really fortunate to have supportive administrative at both my schools. An added benefit was teaching CTE because there was additional support built into that group. I felt that I had the resources, support, and backing of my administration. But to those teachers that don’t have that, what exactly would you ask from your administration if you could? What would your ideal administrator look like (other than Brad Pitt)? What would you want your administrator to understand?
One thing I’ve learned as an administrator that I didn’t understand as a teacher, is that admin have so many different balls in the air they are juggling that sometimes things drop. At times we are hit from so many different sides: teachers, parents, students, staff, community members, district office, different outside groups, departments, etc. It isn’t that your issue is any less important than the others, it’s just that there are 10 balls in the air and I need to strategically plan which one I am going to tackle first. I have to put a priority list and clear them out as quickly as possible.
When I was a teacher it was rare that my prep period was hijacked by something that needed to be resolved right away. As an administrator, there are entire days that are hijacked by unforeseen issues that need my immediate attention. I have had more days than I can count that started with a long list of to-dos only to have the day finished and not a single thing crossed off the list.
Please understand, I am not complaining. I’m not throwing a pity party. I ❤️ LOVE ❤️my job and wouldn’t change it for anything. But it is something I did not understand as a teacher. I would come down and talk with my principal whenever I had something pressing as she had an open door policy. I just didn’t realize all she was juggling. I am more grateful for how open and accommodating she was for me knowing what I know now.
I hope that the teachers I work with know how important they are to me. Even if I seem distracted at times. I am working on the ability to focus completely on them while they are in my office. Hopefully, they feel like they are the most important person when they are there. If not, call me on it.
I feel like I was able to go the extra mile as a teacher because I felt safe, valued, and supported by my administration. Just like it was described in Lead Like a Pirate:
I hope as a school leader I am invited into real conversations. I have had some of those conversations before, and they can be uncomfortable at times, but they are worth it. My goal as a school leader is to be apart of real conversations. But this doesn’t apply only to the administration. This applies to department chairs and teachers as well. As a teacher, hopefully, you are invited into real conversations with your students.
I remember the stress or anxiety that happens when you see your building admin walk into your classroom. But I hope I am able to see and hear what is really going on in my building, not just in the classroom, but throughout the whole building.