In response to the post, “Teacher Stress,” a reader writes:

“I’ve heard a number of teachers say things like this on my campus during meetings when the principal is not in attendance. I’ve also observed the same teachers go in and out of the principal’s and vice principals’ offices, essentially brown-nosing. So I’m confused when I sit there listening to those teachers complain about being under so much stress and/or having to attend too much training. When the principal is attending, I only hear sparkly conversations.

At our school, I know our principal has been called on the carpet and that he is actively trying to show improvement with our new programs, such as the LYS training. And having been a teacher here for awhile, I know we can do it. We just have to be willing to commit to being a LYS teacher and just do the work. With the support that we are being provided and our will to make it work, our school will improve and become a great one.

You just have to know when to look yourself in the eye and change yourself instead of complaining about having to change. I like the LYS program. I believe in it and I know it will work.”

SC Response
Since you comment arrived, I have read it 6 or 7 times. It is excellent and inspiring. I want to make four quick points relating to what you wrote.

First, principals, you have to attend the staff training sessions that your teachers attend. Your presence is the greatest variable impacting the effectiveness of the training. It is simply night and day. If you want to guarantee that your staff won’t implement the training, then don’t attend. And I have observed this enough times, that at this point, I no longer blame the staff. With multiple programs and training initiatives occurring simultaneously, time management 101 advises you to focus on the things that your boss values most. Actions speak much louder than words. If you, as a leader, don’t attend, it is safe to assume that you do not think that the training is important.

Second, school leaders, the people that seek you out for a discussion always have an agenda. To assume otherwise is just naive. Veteran Superintendents and Principals understand this (at least at a subconscious level), new leaders and leaders who were never principals (or head coaches), get burned by this more times than not. Again, I don’t blame the staff. This is the nature of a hierarchical system. It only becomes a problem, when leadership removes itself from observing the action on a regular and frequent basis.

Third, talk about hitting the nail on the head. This is a great quote, “We… just have to do the work.” That’s the secret, do the work, at full speed, with the tools at our disposal. When that occurs, our students respond and quickly begin to perform at levels that we never imagined. It’s not magic, it’s purposeful action.

Finally, thanks for reading the blog and joining the conversation. Your informal leadership on your campus can easily become more powerful than any formal authority.

Think. Work. Achieve.

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