Follow these tips for a great year with your supervisor.Aug 19, 2021
Your classroom routine is working, you’ve learned the kids’ names, and you nailed curriculum night.
What's next?Building a positive relationship with your principal — or if you are in a large school — the assistant principal who is your immediate supervisor should be your next big goal.
Getting along with the boss is just as important for teachers as it is for any other professional.
“I think the biggest mistake I have seen new teachers make in their relationship with me is when they don't ask for help when they need it,” says longtime Mesa Public Schools Principal Kathy Ray, who leads Porter Elementary School.
“When there is a problem they are having and they don't get help right away, then things head south and the problem grows even larger when it could have been solved much easier and sooner. A student that they are struggling with behaviorally would be a good example of this scenario.”
Sure, principals have huge jobs. They are in charge of an entire school while you just have to worry about a classroom. That does not mean your principal is unable to help you with classroom issues that arise.
And they certainly want to hear your success stories.
Communication is Key
Find out from other teachers — or just by asking — how your principal likes to receive information.
Some principals don’t mind teachers dropping by their offices when the door is open, while others prefer scheduled meetings. Some like to communicate by email, so there is a record of the issue. Others find that their inboxes are always overloaded with unread messages.
No matter how your principal likes to communicate, keep your message positive and professional. Keep in mind that your principal deals with emotional parents and children all day long. Utilize their expertise as a way to seek more possible interventions or ideas to combat the situation you are seeking advice around.
Don’t Join the Negative Rumor Mill
Every school has its share of naysayers and gossip mongers. But if you want a good relationship with your principal, don’t join in. If you feel you must keep on top of rumors to know where your school or job is headed, find neutral ways to reply to negative statements.
Remember that your principal can be your best source of information about what is going on in your school or district. He or she has the big picture that is often difficult to understand or see from the classroom at times.
Don’t Be Shy About Sharing Your Ideas
Even if you are in your first year of teaching, don’t hold back at staff meetings or in informal conversations with your principal and others. Remember that you have had access to the latest and best information about brain science and teaching techniques. Share what you know in a positive way.