3 Tips for New Administrators

One day away from finishing my first year of being principal and I would just like to share some tips that I think will help you tremendously as a principal/vice principal coming into a new building.  Here they are:

  1. Get to know the kids. If you build a relationship with them FIRST, then you will make your life a lot easier.  If they know you care, not only will your job be easier, it will also be much more rewarding.  If teachers know that you care about the kids first, then you will easily transition to tip number two.
  2. Get to know the staff. I hate the term, “these are the people you are in the trenches with”.  That just implies an us against them attitude.  These are your partners in building a strong environment.  If you know them better and how they work best, you will make a learning environment that is best for kids.  It is not admin AND teachers AND support staff.  It is school staff.  You all work together to build the best school possible.  Know your partners.
  3. Get to know the parents. If you already have worked on number 1, then they will already be on your side.  Just remember that parents trust you with their kids everyday so they have to be comfortable with you.  Do not wait for an opportunity to meet them.  Make the opportunity.  Listen to them about their kids and how you can use the parents expertise to learn how to best serve their child.  Working together with parents is much easier than working against them.  Create a connection.

If you follow these three things, you will well be on your way to having a successful year!

My Summer Plans?

Every year, I always declare it the “Summer of George”  (I think it might be take on some Frolf!) and this year the declaration will also be made.  Usually the year includes traveling around, visiting friends and just relaxing.  I also teach classes at World Health for the summer and try to keep in good shape for the return to school (since it is tough with all of the “treats” in the staff room the entire year!).

This summer looks a little different.  I am heading to Barcelona and will be moderating a session at the PLE Conference that my brother is keynoting at (this is called riding the coattails!) and then returning to speak at a session at the NYSCATE Leadership Summit via videoconferencing.  This will be my first time that I have ever presented during the summer months and I am both excited and nervous.  Last summer as I moved into my first year of being a principal, I spent several hours at the school just figuring things out so that I was prepared as possible for the first day, along with the entire year.

Although I hope to have some “downtime” this summer, I have never had so much fun learning in my life.  Through my PLN I have connected (it seems) with people that are ALL passionate about education.  Their enthusiasm is so infectious that I just love engaging in conversations and sharing with them.  I would consider this past year my most rewarding that I have had in my career, but collaborating with so many more people this year, I think it is only going to get better.

Although I am looking forward to relaxing this summer, spending time with my brother, and visiting family and friends, I am also excited on continuing my learning and creating connections with my PLN.

I would love to hear what you are doing this summer?  Many are currently at #ISTE10 and I am jealous of the collaboration and learning that is going on there. I personally am looking forward to relaxing, sharing, visiting, and learning. I am excited for this new SUMMER OF GEORGE!

Courage

We had an amazing experience with our students today as the school put on an “Identity Fair” (I will write more on this day later).  This was an amazing opportunity where each student was able to share something unique about themselves.  Each grade from grade one to six created their own display.   At the end of the day, the grade six students shared their displays and I was overwhelmed when I saw the following display:

Marley is a student that has Tourette Syndrome and I asked her if I could take this picture (along with asking her mom if I could write this post) and share it with the world.  Marley is one of the kindest students and is an important part of our school community.  Out of 184 days of school this year, I can guarantee that I have received an equal amout of hugs from her this year.  She has the kindest heart and the kindest family.  Unfortunately for us, she is in grade six and will no longer be with us next year.

When Marley was asked about her display she simply said, “This is part of who I am so I wanted to share it.”  She explained Tourette Syndrome to those that came by and most adults left her display in tears (including myself) and kids learned a lot about her.  What many would consider an “affliction” Marley just considers  as just a part of her.  I am so proud of her and what she did today.  She is an amazing person and she taught me so much today about WHY every kid can be a leader no matter what obstacles they may face.

I am looking forward to the day that Marley speaks on Tourette Syndrome to the entire world and shares her knowledge on the subject.  I would like to think that today was the day that she started to become a leader in this area but I have the feeling today was only the day that we found out about her leadership.  She has been a leader way before this.  I am so glad that we really got to see it before she left.

If I ever wonder again WHY I became an administrator I will have to look no further than this moment.

Thanks Marley for teaching me more about you and inspiring me to ensure that others get the same chance to share themselves like you did today.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.