Always Time for People.

Had a nice pre-evaluation meeting with a teacher this week who reminded that It’s All About Relationships.  She shared a recent field trip with her class during which she ran into three people with whom she’s developed a relationship in the course of this annual field trip.  It was good to see them, introduce them to her students, and reconnect.

I couldn’t agree more.  And my contribution to #YourEduStory for this week is just that: Relationships and People.  It’s one of my strengths as a principal.  Thanks @msvictoriaolson for the topic suggestion!

As much as being out at lunch with students is fruitful and fun, I need to balance my availability to staff.  Eating in the staff room, being available for private chats in my office and yes, going out to spend lunch with students… it’s all about time with people.  Building, nurturing and expanding relationships.

It’s enrollment and tour season.  When a new face comes into the office, I don’t hesitate to introduce myself, welcome them to our school, and answer any questions they might have.  It takes 5 minutes, but how welcoming is it to meet the principal of your student’s potential new school?  Very.  And I always try to flip things.  If I were standing in our office wondering if this was the right place for my child, wouldn’t I want to be greeted with a smile by the person in charge?

“What can I do for you today?” is one of my go-to greetings, in person and on the phone.  It’s a job of service so why not make myself available from the get-go?  Sometimes a teacher wants to share a classroom success.  Other times he or she might need a resource, a book, or link to help with a project.  And other times, nothing at all.

Our classified staff are hard to get in a room together.  Impossible actually.  So I try to find times in the day to check in.  Yesterday was a particularly sunny January day and two of our one-to-one inclusion aides were sitting at the picnic table watching their students doing PE with their class.  I joined them and we had a nice chat about the weather (wow!), their students and weekend plans.  Just a quick exchange and mutual appreciation for the sunshine, students growing in independence and TGIF sentiments.

“Can I show you this, Mrs. Haugen?”

“Of course.  I’d love to see it”

I’m never too busy for a request to share from a student.  My two minutes means the world to them.  And what could be better than a well written essay, the beginnings of a math problem, a painting or new jump rope trick?  That’s why I’m here.  That’s why I chose this role.

Victoria asked, “What is the best thing you do in your classroom/school/district/job?”

I make time for people.  And it’s my #oneword for 2015 too!

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