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Welcome to my blog! I use my blog as a way to reflect, share, organize, and re-conceptualize my views as an educator. Enjoy and feel free to comment, post, disagree, and share your opinion. The more perspectives, the better!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Top 10 Ways to Make your Principal your "Pal" and Other Advice (part 1)

Tonight at Senior Seminar we had amazing speakers, Mr. Hockenberrry, the principal at Oyler School and his co-worker Mrs. Dorfmann, a special education teacher. He began his talk by listing 10 pieces of advice for first year teachers.

While some of them are extremely obvious, I thought the list was a helpful reminder to everyone on how to conduct yourself in a professional, teaching environment. We all will be nervous going into our first year. We all will make mistakes. This list gives ways to show your effort and ways to show that you are willing to do what it takes to provide a solid education for your students.

For me, it was also a realization for me how helpful my experiences with extra-curricular activities (even going back to MS and HS) have been so critical to my education. His advice was obvious to me. It was not obvious to me b/c of my coursework, practicum, and ST experience (though Melanie reinforces all of this), it was obvious b/c what I have done outside of the classroom. Here is the list:

  Top 10 Ways to Make the Principal your "Pal"

(10) On-time performance: Make timeliness a priority...especially during arrival, dismissal, lunch, and specials. Do not make people wait for you.

(9) AVOID "I have the worst class" syndrome: This is very unlikely. It is more likely that you need to improve. Instead of complaining and making excuses for your class and yourself find a way to get better!

(8) Get involved: somehow I think I have this one mastered! He made a really good point though...EVERYBODY IS BUSY, but if we really want to foster a positive school atmosphere and we really want to

(7) Do not make your principal work backwards: make sure to read emails, announcements, newsletters, etc. Stay organized and on top of things so that your principal does not have to ask you twice and/or back track to find information that you might have forgotten about.

(6) Don't "bad mouth" your principal: I think this one is self explanatory, but probably the most broken rule by teachers. I swear, teacher's gossip and complain more than middle school girls! Even if your principal is not in the room, it will get back to them eventually.

(5) Classroom Management is your responsibility (NOT your principals): 1. they are too busy, 2. you loose credibility and control with your students if the principal needs to come in to help you manage your classroom.

(4) Don't pass off the "Monkey on your Back": There is a difference between venting and problem solving. Make sure that when you approach your principal with a problem you are not complaining, but rather actively working out a way to make your situation better. Come with ideas and options to discuss.

(3) No Surprises: Keep records and let your principal know of problems that happened in the classroom. It is better that he know that the problem happened and how the problem was dealt with BEFORE he is confronted about it than after.

(2) Attendance should be your priority: Your attendance has a HUGE impact on your students. He used a great example. Having a substitute teacher in your place is like walking on to an airplane and have the stewardess let you know that the regular pilot was unavailable, so today's flight will be navigated by a biologist. Just because someone has a 4 year degree, does not mean they are qualified to teach your classroom. Even substitutes with an education degree cannot adequately replace you. Your students respond best to you---your routine, your standards, and your management.

(1) Realize that you are trusted with someone else's most precious possession: Every child is someone's child, niece, neighbor, grandchild, etc. Everyone of your students is a part of a family and his or her family trusts YOU to teach them and care for and about them for six hours every single school day. This is a tremendous responsibility and will make your job as an educator incredibly rewarding.

Mr. Hockenberry and Mrs. Dorfmann talked about many more important things, but it is way past my bed time so I will leave you waiting foe part 2!

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