I’ve always said that I believe January and February to be some of the hardest months of the school year. It’s getting over that hump into the spring, testing is kicking in (at least in Texas), behavior starts to escalate again, people are getting on other people’s nerves, and you feel like there’s way too much on your plate.
As an administrator now, and knowing what I know, I have to be aware of that when making decisions and asking for my teachers to help with things.
And I feel like it’s also my job as a leader to be aware when stress exists and try to help ease or alleviate that stress.
Sometimes with things that I’m told I have to pass down to my staff, I don’t get a lot of options about what I have to ask my team to do. But you see, there ARE things I can do.
I have plans for something for our February staff meeting, but I’m not sharing those secrets yet haha.
BUT, I will share something I started this week, that I’m already seeing great results from….
Sometimes we just want someone to notice how hard we’re working. Sometimes we just need a minute, we just need a break.
As the leader, I have a lot of things I have to complete and do, but most importantly I have to take care of my team. Those kids and my team are my number one priority. Paperwork and other things can happen second.
So this week I started by selecting 7 “winners” and notifying them by email they were selected.
Within the email I let them know that this week was their special week. They could select a 30 minute time period, that matched with my calendar, that I would come and cover their classes and give them a break.
Some chose the first 30 minutes of the day so they could show up late, some chose a period combined with their lunch to get an extended lunch, and others just chose a time that worked for them. But the point was that I noticed they needed a break, and I stepped up to the plate and gave up my time to show them I noticed their hard work.
I did a bug lesson with Kindergarten, I read to PreK and worked in centers with them, I did a writing activity with 3rd grade, I helped give a test in 5th grade, I read to and taught a writing lesson to 4th grade, I helped 1st grade at recess and came inside to finish an assignment, and two teachers said they didn’t need the break but appreciated the thought!
Did it require me to give up my own time where I needed to complete things? Of course it did. But I’ve always said that I was never going to be an administrator who left the classroom, so this “gift” from me also allowed me to get back into classrooms and have face time with kids as their “teacher”.
I hear leaders tell me, “I can’t give up that kind of time” or “My teachers would’t take me up on it”, but my response to that is that as the leader of this campus I have to give up my own time for the benefit of the team. There are so many of my responsibilities that I can get done when kids aren’t in the building, and in reality, when those kids are in the building I should be spending every moment I can working with them and the rest of the staff.
So when you notice the stress. When you see that people aren’t feeling noticed are heard for their frustrations or hard work, it’s time to step up. It doesn’t have to be covering their classes, it can be something totally different.
But the way I look at it is, it’s only 30 minutes. And I loved every one of them.