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How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy? (Or At Least How Do I Keep Them At Bay)

This article is part 6 of the series Questions That Will Save Your Career. Please read the other articles in the series.

  1. How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?
  2. How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?
  3. How Do I Keep My Students Interested?
  4. How Do I Keep My Students Learning?
  5. How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me?
  6. How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy?
  7. How Do I Keep My Sanity?
  8. 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Students Quiet?
  9. 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Students Engaged?
  10. 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Students Interested?
  11. 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Students Learning?
  12. 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Students Away From Me?
  13. 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy?
  14. 10 Years of Teaching: How Do I Keep My Sanity?

21649_business_buddhaHow do you keep the administrators happy?
No matter how hard you try and no matter how much the students and parents love you, certain people remain who can make your job more difficult. Principals, superintendents, counselors, and secretaries are key people to have on your side. But how do you get them on your team? I talked about this at great length in a previous post. But we’ll look in-depth at some tactics that I have found to be fruitful.

  1. Underpromise, overdeliver
    The typical routine is to overpromise and underdeliver. To say I’ll be there are 7, and show up at 7:05. That immediately lowers the opinion people hold about you. If I say that I am going to do something, the very minimum that I must do is exactly what I said. I aim to meet expectations when I tell someone what I will do, and to exceed those expectations when I actually do it. Perhaps it is a competitive thing for me, but I want to be better than everyone else. Seth Godin would call it being the best in the world. Always be certain to at least do what you say you will do.
  2. Always present your students in a positive light
    Nobody important likes hearing you complain about the children you have to teach. They love hearing you brag about the children you get to teach. Gossip and complaining will merely turn into a downward spiral. If you are the best in the world, then your students must be the greatest students ever. Choose your attitude.
  3. Offer solutions
    Everybody can point out problems. Most people do. Those who change the world offer solutions instead of merely pointing out problems. Problems with no offered solution lead to complaining. Complaining does not make people like you more. People who complain generally don’t get the help with budget items. Whenever you talk with your counselors about scheduling, no matter how bad it is, don’t complain. Have a solution or two or three ready and ask if there is a way they can make one of them happen. Sometimes, they are not even in control of that. Complaining to someone about something they cannot fix is definitely not going to give them a higher view of you.
  4. Smile when you talk with them
    This works for everyone. It gives the impression that you love your job and that you love your students. People who love their jobs are more productive at work. When you’re talking about those solutions, be sure that you laugh about the problem rather than getting upset about it. As I mentioned before, it is not always their fault. Also keep in mind that principals want to help you out, but they also want to help out all of the other teachers in their school. They generally try, so at least give them the benefit of the doubt.
Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

5 thoughts on “How Do I Keep My School Administration Happy? (Or At Least How Do I Keep Them At Bay)

  1. What an interesting aticle and what an interesting blog. Glad I found you (or rather you found me).

    I know how my teachers can make me happy…

    Love the kids, and help them succeed. Thats it. Thats all I care about. Every teacher has their unique personality just like everyone else. Most administrators that I have found (the good ones) learn to use those unique personalities for the good of the kids. Each day someone different upsets me in someway and it is usually an employee (not a student). I can overlook the issue if I know that teacher has the best interest of the kid. Simple as that.

  2. These are good tips. I have found that the brag about your students is especially helpful. Admins got into teaching at one time because they too liked working with children. But, now the demands on their time keep them away from kids a lot. So, when you bring a positive story to them, it connects them back to the very reason they got into this mess in the first place. Also, they can go to their meetings and repeat your example of something positive going on at school. I find that sending them copies of student work with a small note of why that sample is noteworthy is also a good way to stay connected with minimal time for either party.

  3. When we have concerts, I always invite my principal and assistant principal. I also record the concerts and try to make a copy of the concert for my principal also.

    A couple of years ago, I had coffee mugs made up with the band logo on it. I gave one to each counselor and principal. I also gave one to the superintendent and the high school band director. Both of them still have that mug on their desks!

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