Although I officially returned to work this past Monday, kicking off the 2014-2015 school year, I still find myself reflecting on the past school year. There are one or two things I cannot seem to get off of my mind so I am taking my thoughts to my blog with the hope there is at least one other administrator out there who can relate.
Favorites! Do we have them? Whether you are a teacher or an administrator do you have favorites? Do you have students in your classroom who you favor over others? Do you have teachers in your building you favor over others?
So we are clear, the word "favorite" is defined as:
- preferred before all others of the same kind
If you do not know me, I am a pleaser. It pains me when people ask me for something, whether it be in life or at work and I have to say "no". I guess that comes from a place of not wanting to disappoint anyone. Man, a principal who likes to please and hates to disappoint. I know! Believe me, I know! With that being said, when I found out some of the staff members perceive me to have favorites, I initially felt as if I was disappointing them.
However, after reflecting a great deal, spending time reading your blogs and taking a step back, I discovered I do have favorites. More importantly, I discovered I have favorites and it is OK!
Through my reflection, I discovered the teachers that are my favorites hold the following characteristics, qualities and/or passions.
Passion For Our Students
I will be the first to tell you, as a title I campus, with nearly 80% of our demographic qualifying for the free and reduced lunch program, our students need some extra love and care. My favorite teachers are the ones who will embrace our students, regardless of their behavior, background, instructional level or language they speak. My favorite teachers embrace our students and provide them the instruction they need where they need it, in order to be successful.
The job of a teacher today is so hard! There should not be a single person in our building who feels they are working alone. When a teammate or fellow staff member needs a hand, my favorite teachers are the ones who will drop anything and help their fellow colleague. They will help regardless of what grade they teach, how long they have been teaching, how long it may take or what time is. My favorite teachers are the ones who are always there for one another.
Trust and Respect
IMO. An acronym I am seeing more and more of. We all have them and when you are passionate about what you believe, sometimes you think your opinion is the only one that matters. That could not be farther from the truth. My favorite teachers understand there is more than one way to do things and sometimes the opinions and thoughts of others may work better then their own. Of course, this level of professionalism only occurs when a mutual trust and respect has been developed. My favorite teachers work on developing a mutual trust and respect for each other so regardless of whose opinion may be right or wrong, they will do what is best for students and are happy to do so.
You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. My favorite teachers can locate a problem, but instead of complaining about it, doing nothing or making it worse, they brainstorm possible solutions. (In some cases, they even collaborate with others when doing said brainstorming) My favorite teachers bring their ideas to the table to share with others. They do not complain in the teacher's lounge and gossip in the hallway, rather they spend their time sharing ideas with others; working together to make things better.
Willing to Learn/Willing to Share
My favorite teachers are always learning. Whether they are reading blogs, articles or books, developing their PLN on Twitter or utilizing their PLC to develop and strengthen their learning, they showcase a willingness to constantly learn. My favorite teachers share their learning. They share their learning through emails, by posting to their blogs, by sending a tweet or even through word of mouth. It is not important how you learn or how you share. The bottom line is that you never stop learning and never stop sharing.
It is the 21st century and tech tools have nestled their way into many classrooms. My favorite teachers are risk takers. They are willing to try a new tool or strategy to challenge their own thinking and force themselves out of their comfort zone to potentially increase student engagement. The risks teachers take, may or may not pan out, but it is through the risks that really learning occurs. My favorite teachers are willing to take the risk, not afraid to fail and get back up on the horse when they do.
So there you have it. I admit it. I do have favorites and I am OK with it. In fact, I am proud of the teachers I described above and know each year more and more teachers will become my favorites.
In a time where great teachers are more important than ever, I want all of my teachers to be my favorites!
Will you be my favorite? The staff and students depend on it.