Have you ever wondered, “Is this something I should take to my administrator?”
I know early on in my career, I wondered that a lot. The best administrators honestly care about you as a person. They also want to be involved at some level in what their staff is doing with learners. Here are my five tips for when I take something to administration.
High End Student Behavior
There is a difference between teacher managed behavior and administration managed behavior. When students are fighting, destroying property, being beligerant and directly refusing to comply? That’s when you call in admin–immediately. Things like blurting, inattentiveness, light pushing, being irresponsible with work or materials? These are things you can ask colleagues or coaches to help with. There is nothing wrong with asking for help with those teacher managed behaviors. The earlier–the better!
If you notice that doors are being propped open, or gates are left unlocked throughout the day, that’s a safety issue. Especially in these days of heightened gun violence in schools, we need to be extra vigilant. Also things like playground equipment not working properly, lots of ants or bees out on the playground…even students being dropped off in an unsecured area. These types of concerns should be brought up with leadership immediately so that they can decide how things need to be handled.
There will be times that a parent becomes upset. This is part of teaching. I don’t think I know anyone who has taught 20 years and never once had to deal with a difficult parent at least once. I’d say, if a parent starts raising their voice or swearing, that’s a good time to cut off the conversation politely and let an adminstrator know that you’ll need support for future conferences.
School Culture & Staff Care
This is such a tough time for teachers. If you have ideas on how you could work with others to improve morale? Share those ideas! Not too long ago, our front office staff and admin came around with a snack cart and offered each teacher a snack. It was a small thing, but those touches could be an encouragement. My students do a Kind Kids Club and make a small token for teachers each year during teacher appreciation week. There are fifth grade teachers who ask their students to write to a special teacher as part of closing out their K-5 experience.
All of these ideas could be morale boosters! Cultural celebrations that include food can also be a hit if people have time and capacity to participate. If there are things that could be taken off teacher’s plates, or pushed to a different time, maybe ask if that could be done. Comp time and work from home days can also give teachers much needed reset time if those options are available. Present your ideas humbly and come with solutions. You’ll be appreciated.
Reporting students to DCF
Here in Florida, we are manditory reporters. If we see something concerning or hear something from the children, we are not responsible to investigate. Our job is to simply report it to DCF. Now, once that is done, its appropriate to let adminstration know. There will almost always be school visits and it is helpful to be able to know to coordinate support resources if needed. DCF investigations are very hard on parents, families and children. They are incredibly stressful. This is also a good time to have an administrator available to support in whatever way is needed.
Keep in mind, administrators are not monolithic. There are so many other ways that they would like to.be involved. You just need to ask. There are some that would prefer to talk about curriculum and content. Maybe your administrator loves community outreach. Some administrators might enjoy fundraising and grant work. My current administrator is interested in what I’m reading and I love that!
Admins, what other types of things would you like to have teachers come to ya with? Share in the comments!