Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Now that school is almost out for spring here is some of the things I learned during my first year as a principal (I am sure these are similar to what others have learned, but this was good reflection);

  1. The office staff makes the building go.  I am blessed to have a great office staff that made sure I did what I was supposed to when I was supposed to do it.  They provided great feedback when I had questions or ideas.  The made sure I did not make any major mistakes.  They handled many situations before they got to me which allowed me to focus on students.  Sara, Pam, and Julie - thanks for all the help this year!!
  2. Take time to be the undercover boss.  I found time to help every person in the building with their job a couple different times during the year.  I served lunch, cleaned lunch tables, picked up trash, filed, answer the main phone line, checked out books, cleaned bathrooms, modeled lessons, created flipped classroom lessons, and cleaned the microwave in the staff lounge to name a few of the things I helped with.  If people see you willing to do what ever it is that needs to be done they are much more willing to pitch in.  If you are not willing to do it then don't ask someone else to.
  3.  Set some parameters and then let professional make decision on the best way to get the job done.  Allow people freedom to chose and take risks.  Build a culture where it is ok to fail.  You can learn more from making mistakes than being safe and doing the easy thing.  Failure is not a bad thing.  Learning lies in mistakes and misconceptions.  Being not afraid to fail frees you up to take risks and try something new.  Try to do something new on a regular basis.
  4. Get into classrooms daily.  I made it a point to get into a multiple classrooms on a daily basis.  This lets you know what is going on and you can talk to students and teachers about what you saw.  This is a great way to engage students in their learning and teachers in their instruction.  
  5. Talk to every adult in the building everyday.  I stopped by and talked to every adult in the building on a daily basis - even if it is just to say hi.  Great way to build relationships and find out what is really going on in the building.  
  6. Get out and play with the kids.  School and learning is supposed to be fun - go have some fun every day.
  7. Smile.  A smile will change any one's mood. 
  8. Talk to other principals.  Tap into their expertise and knowledge. 
  9. Don't waste people's time.  Cancel meetings if there is nothing to meet about.
  10. Be a great listener.  Sometimes people just want to talk/vent.  If there is one skill that is vital to being an effective principal it is the ability to listen.

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