Wednesday, July 11, 2012

If You Don't Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students!

For the past four summers, I have read the same book. It is my go-to book for self-evaluation and reassessment as a school administrator. If You Don't Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students! by Neila A. Connors, Ph.D. allows me to accomplish both of these tasks. The premise of the book is that administrators need to be active in their encouragement and nurturing of teachers or the entire school and student body will suffer.

If You Don't Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students: Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers (Kids' Stuff)
By way of a "book review" I will say that Connors is a creative writer, always connecting her concepts back to a restaurant environment. The advice is very practical yet poignant. There are times I feel that Connors tries too hard to force the restaurant theme by creating acronyms for everything. The fact that there is a glossary for the acronyms is evidence that there may be too many. However, since I've read the book now four times, I obviously value the messages therein.

During this summer's reading, I came to several realizations. 
1. I am only responsible for myself. I cannot change the overall vision or mission of the school where I work. I cannot change every aspect of how things are done. However, I can change my outlook, attitude, and the way I personally do my job.
2. I need to hold true to what I personally value as I interact with the teachers in our school rather than allowing my frustrations and busyness to interfere.

While reevaluating my role and job, I set eight goals for the 2012-2013 school year. Many of these are frequent goals for several years, but I need to put forth more energy into accomplishing them and remaining consistent.
1. Spend more time in the classrooms and hallways... less time in my office.
2. Find creative ways to encourage the teachers and staff for a job well done.
3. Plan at least two fun faculty outings during the school year.
4. Take time to care for myself - physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally.
5. Find 2-3 manageable meaningful tasks to complete each day.
6. Communicate more often and more clearly with faculty and staff.
7. Create (and abide by) a personal organization plan.
8. Schedule on the first day of every month a time to reflect on my goals and accomplishments from the previous month. Then adjust! 

Fellow administrators - I highly encourage you to read this book. What are some of your goals for the upcoming school year?

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