After year one as principal at one of my campuses, I realized that I had grown weary of always focusing on the staff members who were not meeting campus expectations. I also realized that it was only a few staff members who fit in that ineffective/rebellious category, but that small percentage of teachers were sucking the energy out of me.
The next year, I decided to focus on the positive. I still dealt with teachers who were not meeting expectations, but it no longer consumed me. Instead, I used my time to commend those staff members who were doing the right thing. Read below for some of the ways I showed appreciation for those staff members who were doing a great job.
Staff Development Kudos
I began my weekly staff development sessions with a kudos. We had staff development every Monday for an hour. On Monday, while around campus and in classrooms, I looked for things to for which to praise teachers. I looked for teachers who were engaged with their students, teachers who were teaching the character education lesson as expected, teachers who were on schedule, teachers who were doing Fundamental 5, etc. The first thing on the agenda was kudos. I began the meeting with a kudos to teachers who were caught doing the right thing.
Each Friday, I emailed the campus newsletter to all staff members. The newsletter had all the things I needed to share with the staff. I never believed in faculty meetings… where you bring the staff together to share information. That’s a waste of time. In the newsletter, I had a section for Kudos. Each week, I listed one staff member (or group of staff members) for something I noticed. The kudos in the weekly newsletter was different from the kudos during staff development. Only teachers were at the staff development session, so I only gave kudos to teachers. In the newsletter, I took that opportunity to give kudos to any staff members. I might list the PEIMS Clerk for getting through Snapshot error-free. I gave kudos to the assistant principal for a job well done with testing. I might have given kudos to a paraprofessional for helping a student in need.
At staff development meetings after big district benchmarks, I gave teachers a certificate and coupon from a local restaurant for the following:
At the end of the awards assembly for students, I recognize teachers who had perfect attendance for the grading period. During the assembly, I award the teacher with the certificate, a free jeans day, and lunch on me.
How do you lead with positivity?
Paula Patterson is a former principal who shares practical points on the principalship.