Skip to main content

Above and Beyond

Teacher, "Recess time!"
Students, "Yeh!"
Teacher, "Let's play some football!"
Students, "I wanna be on your team!"
Teacher, "I'll be the all-time quarterback, punter, and ref."
Students, "Yeh!"
Teacher, "Ready. Set. Hike."
Students, "I'm open! I'm open! Throw it to me! Throw it to me!"
Recess is one of the best parts about elementary school for students, but also for teachers and principals. It is fantastic to see the enthusiasm that comes out from students at recess and how engaged they can really be.
One of the things that I am quickly realizing as principal (just over one month in) is just how important it is to the students, parents, and other staff members to have teachers that go above and beyond for their students in ways that are meaningful and personal to their students. When I have teachers volunteering to be all-time punters, quarterbacks, and referees at recess they are building lasting memories for the students, while at the same time building stronger relationships with their students and their students' families. And that has a greater impact than many realize. 
What do you think a student is more likely to talk about when he gets home from school, the lesson on fractions or that their teacher played with them at recess? As a parent, I know if I am hearing that my child's teacher played a game with them at recess, I know my child is getting taught by an educator who truly cares about their students and sees their job as more than just that. They value their time with my child in a way that goes beyond the classroom lessons. As a principal, I love to see those connections and relationships being made stronger because I see how that builds a strong sense of trust and supportive community that is needed in the overall culture of a school. The importance of relationships cannot be overlooked.
Now, I am not expecting to see all of my teachers playing football with their students. That is obviously not the only way teachers are going above and beyond for their students. I am also seeing teachers go above and beyond by staying late to make that extra phone call home or send that extra email home when they have their own families to get home to. I see them communicating with families at home through Class Dojo or Remind, which gives the families a meaningful glimpse into their child's day. I see them talking with that troubled student over and over in a quiet, reassuring voice never once losing their patience. I see them willingly cover other classes over and over when there are not subs. I see them getting down on the ground with students in their classes and meeting them at eye level. I hear them telling parents to contact them anytime of the day or night. I see them eager to learn and try new ideas to better improve their time with their students. 
All of these teachers who go above and beyond to build strong, lasting relationships, need to be celebrated. They need to know that they are making a significant difference not only with their students or their classes, but they are making a difference in the entire building and school community. I must do my part to acknowledge and celebrate these teachers. I need to go above and beyond for them. 


Popular posts from this blog

Not Just Any Summer Assignment: A VR Summer Learning Experience

This summer, I intend to go to Disney World and other parts of Florida, the Outer Banks, Ocean City, New York City, a Kansas City Royals baseball game, the Grand Canyon, the White House, a NHL Finals game, a cruise, and I plan to go to all of those places without leaving my house. How? With the Cardboard Camera app, Google Cardboard, and Google Classroom. I have given my sixth grade students one last assignment, and this assignment will run all summer long. Their assignment is to bring along their classmates on their summer vacation trips using the Cardboard Camera app, by uploading their images to Google Classroom for their classmates and myself to view on our Google Cardboards (we had a Google Cardboard make and take night in early May, so the students are really into VR now), and finally collaborating on a Google Slide (Take Us With You On Vacation). Benefits to this assignment: 1. Let's start with the obvious. It is really cool. Who doesn't want to try out VR? The students ab…

My First Few Weeks as Elementary Principal

On January 23rd, my 15-year career as a classroom teacher changed dramatically, as I began a new role as interim principal in one of my district's elementary schools. Then on January 24th, my wife and I celebrated our third child being born. It was a week full of emotions but most of all excitement.  Being a father of two, I knew what to expect with our third child. Late night feedings, sleepless nights, changing diapers (lots of diapers), and a return to the 5S's. But being a first-time principal, it was a lot like being a first-time parent. You could read all the books and get all the advice, but until you actually went through it, you couldn't really understand it.  Much like bringing my first child home from the hospital after she was born, I had some, well a lot, of anxiety going into my first day as principal. I had scheduled a full faculty meeting to introduce myself, and while I was only an interim principal in another principal's building, I still had to be myse…

Enter The Twilight Zone with Blended Learning

You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone. 
I feel that opening part of the show The Twilight Zone directly relates to my school year this year. This is my second full year of running a blended learning classroom, and I feel as if in some way my sixth-grade students and I have crossed over into the Twilight Zone. Strange but wonderful things are happening in and out of my classroom, that I have not, unfortunately, witnessed before in my 15 years of teaching. Students are embracing the idea that learning can take place anywhere, anytime and that their voice matters to others, as they enter a whole other dimension in Google Classroom. They are seeing learning opportunities on their own outside of the school day and wanting to share their experiences wit…