Teacher, "Recess time!"
Teacher, "Let's play some football!"
Students, "I wanna be on your team!"
Teacher, "I'll be the all-time quarterback, punter, and ref."
Teacher, "Ready. Set. Hike."
Students, "I'm open! I'm open! Throw it to me! Throw it to me!"
Recess is one of the best parts about elementary school for students, but also for teachers and principals. It is fantastic to see the enthusiasm that comes out from students at recess and how engaged they can really be.
One of the things that I am quickly realizing as principal (just over one month in) is just how important it is to the students, parents, and other staff members to have teachers that go above and beyond for their students in ways that are meaningful and personal to their students. When I have teachers volunteering to be all-time punters, quarterbacks, and referees at recess they are building lasting memories for the students, while at the same time building stronger relationships with their students and their students' families. And that has a greater impact than many realize.
What do you think a student is more likely to talk about when he gets home from school, the lesson on fractions or that their teacher played with them at recess? As a parent, I know if I am hearing that my child's teacher played a game with them at recess, I know my child is getting taught by an educator who truly cares about their students and sees their job as more than just that. They value their time with my child in a way that goes beyond the classroom lessons. As a principal, I love to see those connections and relationships being made stronger because I see how that builds a strong sense of trust and supportive community that is needed in the overall culture of a school. The importance of relationships cannot be overlooked.
Now, I am not expecting to see all of my teachers playing football with their students. That is obviously not the only way teachers are going above and beyond for their students. I am also seeing teachers go above and beyond by staying late to make that extra phone call home or send that extra email home when they have their own families to get home to. I see them communicating with families at home through Class Dojo or Remind, which gives the families a meaningful glimpse into their child's day. I see them talking with that troubled student over and over in a quiet, reassuring voice never once losing their patience. I see them willingly cover other classes over and over when there are not subs. I see them getting down on the ground with students in their classes and meeting them at eye level. I hear them telling parents to contact them anytime of the day or night. I see them eager to learn and try new ideas to better improve their time with their students.
All of these teachers who go above and beyond to build strong, lasting relationships, need to be celebrated. They need to know that they are making a significant difference not only with their students or their classes, but they are making a difference in the entire building and school community. I must do my part to acknowledge and celebrate these teachers. I need to go above and beyond for them.