I had the great pleasure of visiting a variety of schools this past month. I love to capture what I see, hear, and experience especially in the hallways and when no one knows I am observing! I should have taken pictures or videos, but I didn’t want to ruin the moment and not be fully present during my visits. I am thankful for the educators who are the models for why we choose to do this difficult work on a daily basis. We spend a lot of time “teacher bashing” – we need to celebrate educators more and on a more frequent basis!
Here are some highlights:
- watching young children (3-6 year olds) eagerly choose a book to read while waiting in the lobby to be picked up and invite their friends to come read with them
- teachers chatting after school in the hallway about their day with smiles on their faces and talking about their kids with passion and love
- staff interacting with parents in the hallways during dismissal, knowing every parent by name and knowing specific details about their children
- working with teacher leaders that are excited about coaching – when establishing expectations for our meetings, one fellow said, “outside of the box thinking” – what a fabulous norm. We should always be thinking differently and I hope to foster that.
- observing a Socratic Seminar in a middle school where the teacher is truly facilitating or observing from the sidelines and students own the process
- observing an elementary school math lesson where students were working in small groups and enthusiastically talking about math
- listening to young entrepreneurs from the middle east share how they are working to change the trajectory for youth in their countries
- facilitating professional development sessions at a Common Core conference with educators in Dubai, UAE who were so gracious and invested in learning new strategies
As a school principal, I would capture the good that I saw in children, teachers and even parents and guardians. I made it a priority send a hand written note (at least twice a year) in the mail thanking someone for something they had done to impact the life of a child in our school. Although it seems like such a minor gesture, my staff was always grateful to be acknowledged in that way. Don’t get me wrong, I always had chocolate in my office as well!
How do you thank those that are making an impact in your school? How would you like to be acknowledged?