Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dear Principal

When I read What Do Teachers Need From Administrators? (Day 1) by Brian Crosby, it really made me think about how I would respond to this. I thought I would write it in letter form as if a principal asked me this question. First, let me give you some background. I have been a public school teacher for 30 years and now teaching on the university level. In this newest position I am able to be the “principal” of a summer school that we hold for teachers to get experience with working with students who have learning and emotional difficulties. I wish more administrators would ask this question but wish even more that some administrators would listen. Keep in mind that I realize that sometimes as teachers, we need to make sure that our requests are realistic also. So, without further ado, here is my letter.

Dear Principal,

Thank you for asking this question of me. Here are some suggestions that I have for this.

I need to be treated like a professional. I spend all day with students and sometimes their behavior rubs off on me and it shows. I’m sorry for that. But I need to know that you see me as a professional and treat me this way. If I need to leave the campus during my free time, allow me this opportunity because I spend tons of my own time doing things for my classroom. For those teachers that abuse this opportunity, take that privilege away from them but don’t punish me for their faults.

Be supportive and back me up in front of students and parents. If there is any question about the situation, announce that it will be investigated but don’t humiliate me in front of students or parents, even if I am wrong. Later, I can come back and apologize or take necessary steps to fix the problem but we all make mistakes at one time or another and deserve to be treated with respect.

Ask for my input when making a decision that will affect me. Let me give reasons why I think we should do something. Open up the dialogue for discussion. Even if the decision isn’t made in my favor, I will feel more in control because I was able to give my opinion.

Before we start something new, make sure that we all have the appropriate training necessary to succeed at our new task.

Make sure that I have the tools necessary to do all that you require of me.

Give me a chance to try something new if I think it would work. Your trust in me helps me succeed. Believing in me is a forward step towards my success.

Encourage me to collaborate with other teachers at my school, district, state, or globally. More brains are better than one.

Understand that I have a life outside my job and that my family comes first. Do not make me feel guilty when I have to choose my family over my job if I have the days available to me.

When you send for me to come to your office, please give me a hint about why you want to see me. Nothing is worse than my imagination running wild until I can meet with you. I also will be able to come to your office better prepared to answer any questions you might have if I know in advance what you need from me.

Be fair. Everyone knows when someone else is treated differently than someone else even if no one says it aloud. It really hurts morale.

Recognize me when I have done something good for my students, or received positive feedback from parents. I know you have no control over my paycheck but appreciation and acknowledgement goes a long way.

Thank you for listening to me! Asking me this question already shows what a caring principal you are!

Now what would you tell your principal if you were asked this question?

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Letterwriting' by: Gene Han

1 comment:

Sioux said...

I would say, "When there is problem with one teacher---one teacher is late on a regular basis, or one teacher was reportedly having problems with a parent---don't talk to all of us about it at a staff meeting. Sometimes, we wonder if you are talking about US, and it gets us unnerved. Talk to the teacher in question privately."