Chapter 4 of Michael Fullan’s book Leading in a Culture of Change is called Relationships, Relationships, Relationships. In it he describes that when people’s souls are linked to the organization they feel a deeper connection and want to be a part of it and make a difference. There is no denying that the ability to establish and maintain healthy relationships is important in any profession and is especially true in education. Teachers assume many different roles daily that require careful consideration for the relationships involved. Here are some examples of things to keep in mind as we interact with these individuals and facets of our work.
· Students- They are the reason we do what we do. Each minute you spend with your students is precious and should be treated as such. Use that time wisely to educate, enrich, and enlighten their lives with authentic and engaging learning opportunities.
· Administrators- Whomever you consider your supervisor has earned that position. Whether you are in awe of the amazing leadership skills they bring to your school, or vehemently disagree with every decision they make, it behooves you to maintain your professionalism with them at all times.
· Colleagues- No one will understand your triumphs and troubles as much as a colleague will. Strive to learn from and with each other daily. Healthy, professional relationships among peers will greatly influence the entire learning community.
· Parents- The foundation of this relationship can be summed up in a single word, communication. It is vital to establish a respectful dialogue with the parents of your students. The sooner you are able to do this, the longer you will reap the benefits.
· School Committee- This is an important and often overlooked group of individuals. They are an essential part of the entire system. Know the names of the members, what they stand for, and try to stay informed about topics on their agenda.
· Self- Perhaps the most difficult relationship to cultivate is the one with your own self. To do so successfully takes time, honesty, and most importantly, courage. The first step towards realizing this goal is reflection. (http://littlebitsofadvice.blogspot.com/2013/03/reflective-questions-for-consideration.html)
· Research and Data- A strong relationship with these will go a long way towards improving practice and providing insight to your student’s learning needs. Unfortunately they can often be underutilized during times of stress and chaos.
· Support staff- Recognize and appreciate the network of amazing and dedicated individuals that help an organization run smoothly. As you pull into the parking lot of your school tomorrow and walk to your classroom or office, take note of the efforts made by so many people that allow you to do what you do.
· Family and friends- Yes, you are an educator, but you are also a parent, sibling, son, daughter, spouse, aunt, uncle, friend…remember these relationships are part of what make you who you are and therefor balance must be exercised.
· Technology- By now we all recognize that today’s students are growing up in a world that is very different than the one we lived in. We mustn’t be intimidated or fear the technologies they enjoy, but rather become better acquainted with them and perhaps (gulp) even embrace them!