“We can offer the very best hammer in the world, but if your principal really needs is a saw, having a great hammer is immaterial. They get ‘it’ that you have a good hammer - it just isn't relevant.
Please stop saying, ‘They just don't get it.’ It may reflect on your lack of empathy and understanding, not your principal's.”
I remember as being head of the department, many times my department would have many requests. At the times, they felt their requests should be met because they were important to their classroom. When department heads met with the principal, we all would share our department requests but not all of them were granted. I learned a lot from these meetings because it gave me an idea of the bigger picture. The principal is gathering information from each department and is making decisions that will have the most positive impact on the greatest number of people. I’m not sure many teachers realize this because they tend to have tunnel vision about their own situation. It was really hard for me to go back to my department and let them know that their requests were denied. In fact, some teachers felt like I was not doing my job because of this and were quite upset. Thankfully the administration supported me and met with these teachers.
I think the way we need to convince administrators or anyone else in fact, is to show how our request can help a great number of people. If we can support our requests with data and examples, an administrator may be more agreeable to granting a request. As a taxpayer, I would want to get more bang for my buck so I’m glad that an administrator is watching out for my tax money in this way.
If I had a request, I would seek out people in other departments and see if I could find a way that they could benefit from my request being granted. It would also let me see how my request would affect them and see it from a different perspective. In fact, it might help make my request even stronger. By collaborating with others, I would be able to add things to my request that might make it seem more advantageous for the whole school.
After I wrote up my request, I would show some data or evidence of how many students it would impact. Maybe I would show the numbers according to grade levels or by classes or even by departments. Whichever I use, I would be able to show the administrator the bigger picture.
If my request gets denied, I would ask the administrator if there was anything that I could have adjusted or added to make it better for the next time I submit it. This feedback would help me with this request as well as others that I might make in the future.
I know that all of this will take time but I believe it would be worth it in the long run. A well thought out plan will be evident when the administrator is trying to make a decision. If a plan has too many unknowns, it is less likely to be granted. Covering all possible avenues would show that this is important to me and that I put a lot of hard work into preparing this proposal. This is not a request submitted impulsively.
Do you have any other suggestions that could help someone requesting something? Please share.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).