As my staff and I say goodbye to one of the best principals I have ever worked with, naturally we have a bit of anxiety about who will be stepping in to lead our school. Transitions at school are never easy. The teachers who have nurtured and taught the students and have put their energy into making the school culture what it is are rightfully protective of the history and traditions that have been established. So, with that in mind, I am writing this post. Perhaps whomever we will call “principal” will read this and come to understand that they are being welcomed into a well-established, caring school community.
Dear New Principal,
Welcome! We hope you enjoy your time at OUR school. We are a caring, vibrant community and we want you to feel a part of our team. Please be respectful of all that we have worked for here. We are not perfect, but we are doing our best for OUR kids.
Please spend some time in the staff room and in the hallways just talking with us. It is here that you will find out who we really are as people, not just as teachers. Take some time to get to know about our interests and our passions. We will do the same in getting to know you. Know that we all have lives outside of school and as much as we love our jobs, our own families will always be our first priorities. Relationships matter.
We hope that you will spend time in our classrooms. Not just to formally observe our teaching strategies or lesson plans (of course there is a time and place for that), but to get to know our students and the class culture. Seeing us interact with our students on a day to day basis will tell you far more about who we are as teachers than formal observations. The students will respect your authority more if they can see you as a friendly, caring, supportive principal first. Take time to play with the children. Play is where you learn, and playing together helps us learn about each other. Relationships matter.
Spend some time talking with our parent community. They put hundreds of hours of volunteer time into our school and raise thousands of dollars for their children’s and our staff’s benefit. Listen to them. It’s their children we are teaching and supporting. Relationships matter.
Please trust us as professionals. We have many years of experience and university study on our resumes. Some of us may even have more teaching experience or training than you. We are here to do what is best for our students and I hope that you respect our professional judgement. Respecting our professionalism is part of building good working relationships. Relationships matter.
Please don’t micromanage. If you respectfully ask us to do something, we will do it. We are a team and may need reminders, but please trust that we will accomplish what we set out to do. Relationships matter.
Effective communication is key. Email is great for broadcasting information, but please allow us to come and talk with you in person when we have important issues to discuss. Seeing someone’s body language can really help discern the heart of the problem or the important things that need celebrating. Having you available to talk to is key to building relationships. Relationships matter.
Above all, we ask that you become part of the TEAM at OUR school. We all want what is best for OUR kids, and we hope that our staff can be a unified, compassionate group of educators who put our students needs first. Relationships matter.
Welcome to OUR school!
Your New Staff
P.S. Having a sense of humour is a good thing, too. We love to laugh! 🙂
***Please note: This letter was not written by my staff, nor does it necessarily reflect their views. I have chosen to write it with first person plural pronouns, as it represents the type of community that my school is. It is not an “I” school with individuals working separately, but a “we” environment where we all try to work as a team.***