“I worked for a principal one time that I knew was had tons going on. His desk was full of notes from people to call, his day full of meetings but he made every kid and adult in the school feel like he had time for them. If people asked if he was busy, he would brush off the question and invite you to come in and sit down. He never made you feel rushed or that you were keeping him from something. “
Recently we went to see a doctor and my husband apologized for complaining and taking up too much of the doctor’s time. The doctor leaned back in the chair and said that he had all the time in the world for us. Wow! We felt very special and truly valued. This doctor didn’t rush us but instead made us feel like the time he spent with us was very important. When we left, we both talked about how much we liked this doctor because of the time he spent with us. Even though we knew he was a very busy doctor (we saw the waiting room), it didn’t seem to matter to him. Of course I need to remember this when I’m impatient to see a doctor and realize that he is spending the same important time with other patients.
I also worked for a principal who treated me the same way. I knew how busy he was but if I ever needed to talk to him, he always made time for me. He didn’t continue to work while I talked about what was important to me. He put whatever he was doing aside and gave me his full attention. Because I knew how busy he was, I tried to keep the information short and to the point. I liked to get to the bottom line first and then expand rather than give a long drawn out story with him wondering what I was getting at. In fact, he told me how much he appreciated that too. I also knew that because he would take time to listen to me that I did not need to abuse this or take advantage of this. It also made me feel valued as an employee and I was glad to work for him.
I hope when students come to see me that I take the time to value this person and take time to really listen. I have met with other people where they tell me that they are listening and that they can multitask so as I am talking, they continue to work on the computer. I know how that makes me feel so I hope that I don’t do the same thing with my students. It is not fair to them for me to not focus on what is important to them. Just allowing them to have their say is not enough. It is important to make eye contact and have body language that shows I care.
I feel that I am often busy and I like to stay busy. But I should never be too busy to connect with others. It is very important to remind myself that people are more important than being busy.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original image: 'busy schedule?'