When I went to an office today, I also saw a wonderful poster about customer service. It said “Always give the customer more than they expect.”
Both of these made me reflect on how much we do in the classroom. We are not just teachers but many times we act as a nurturer, nurse, mediator, and entertainer, just to mention a few things. I used to always complain that the more I do, the more people expect from me.
Customer service is the hardest thing I tried to teach my high school students before they went to a jobsite. It is hard to explain how sometimes, the simplest things you do for others can really go a long way.
The same thing goes for the classroom too. Sometimes it isn’t our job to do things but when I go out of the way, seeing the pleasure on a student’s face or the look of gratitude on a colleague’s face makes it all worthwhile. Many times I have been the lucky recipient of nice things back and I truly believe that what goes around comes around. Often, I have to ask for help or a favor from others and it is much easier if I know that I have done things for others.
I’m not saying that everyone is grateful for my help all of the time or if they even notice that I’ve gone out of my way. Sometimes I feel bitter and resentful when I feel as if I’m the one doing all the giving and others seem to do all of the taking. Yes, I get discouraged like others about this but in the long run, the scale has been on the positive side than the other.
You might disagree but I also believe that it is okay to toot your own horn when necessary. How will people know all of the things that you do if you don’t tell them. I don’t mean to brag about it in a snarky kind of way but it is okay for others to know about your actions and how much you accomplished. This may pay off later when you are asking for something or if you need something. Somewhere in the conversation you can bring up things you have done to benefit this person or the people that this person serves.
I feel like if we all had this attitude of giving, we would be a better place. And what a wonderful role model we could be for our students. It seems like I spend a lot of time telling my students about the things they should do but I wonder if I am showing them with my actions as well as my words.
I have called students’ homes in order to share with parents about all the wonderful activities we are doing in the classroom. Monthly newsletters are a great way to share this information with families as well and I make sure my administration gets a copy of this newsletter too. This information is also listed on my web page in case family or friends of the family are interested in these activities. If something special is happening with my class, I may invite the school board to the event and even if they don’t come to it, they are aware of something happening. Some of them might even email a special note to my class about it. If I’ve had an elected official speak to the class, I always invite my administrators to stop in and welcome them which seem to be appreciated by both parties.
These may seem like little things to you but I find it is the little things that matter. I don’t have to have some great big declaration or gala to let others know about the extra things that I do. Yet, I don’t have to let them go unnoticed. If it ever comes down to choosing me over someone else for possible job cuts, I think the extra things I do will help sway the decision making process to my side. The extra things may be what it takes for me to be successful in my career as well as helping my students be successful.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original image: 'I wanna hold your hand'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10488545@N05/1865482908 by: Josep Mª Rosell