Last night, I blogged about the teacher/administrator relationship after a very exciting Twitter conversation yesterday. I really enjoyed reading and thinking about the varied comments on this post, but it was a combination of Jonathan and Kristi‘s comments that really got me thinking again. The ideas are actually best summed up in the comment below.
These words actually made me go back and re-read my blog post. They made me reconsider some of my initial questions. You see, even if as teachers, we always start with the students in mind, discussions may not always result in what we want. Administrators are also thinking about student needs (along with teacher needs, parent needs, community needs, and Board requirements — and please forgive me if I left something else out). As Jonathan and Kristi mention, we need to assume “positive intentions.” Maybe we also need to realize that we might not always be happy with decisions.
But if we talk to administrators and hear these different perspectives, would our understanding of their viewpoints change? Would we develop a stronger relationship with them, even if we don’t always agree? Sometimes not agreeing, and having to try something new, can be a great thing! I think back to my first year teaching a Grade 1/2 split when we started learning about TLCP Boards and Bump It Up Walls. I had students with a wide range of learning needs, and I questioned how all of my students could effectively use these boards. I had numerous conversations with my principal expressing these concerns. The bottom line was though, I needed to give them a try. However, through the conversations, my principal asked me some great questions. I attended different inservices, including an excellent one that was put on by my last vice principal (who was a curriculum consultant at the time). These questions and inservices got me thinking, and tools such as the Livescribe Pen, helped me differentiate the TLCP Board and Bump It Up Wall so that everybody really could use it. Years later, I still believe that the initial concerns that I expressed to my principal made sense, but hearing her rationale and then having her support, helped me when I had to make the change anyway. Relationships matter, and even when we don’t always agree, we can come to understand and appreciate the other point of view.
How do you help understand different viewpoints in education (i.e., teacher, administrator, Board member, community member, parent, and student)? How does this understanding influence your own point of view? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
Leave it to Jonathan to offer words of wisdom! 🙂
But seriously, getting back to the teacher-admin relationship, it helps if the two know a little bit about each other outside of the ‘work’ role. Connecting with people is easier when you know things about them! Taking the time to get to know others will help to build a great foundation and will help with understanding different viewpoints.
Thanks for the comment, Rolland! Jonathan and Kristi have offered many words of wisdom to me over the years. 🙂
You make a good point about knowing more about people’s “work roles.” This again speaks to the power of relationships, which really do matter!