How Do You Like Your Principal to Celebrate You?

Jon Konen
District Superintendent

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A good principal will differentiate, like students, the ways he or she celebrates you! The question is, "How do you like to be celebrated?" Have you ever thought about it? What can your principal do to make you feel appreciated?

Like reading abilities of sixth graders, teachers have a wide variety of what they need from their principal in order to be successful. In my school, I know which teachers need more TLC and kudos than others. By no means am I saying I can do this with 100% effectiveness or accuracy, but I do know which teachers I can say, "Wow, your handling of little Johnny today was excellent," and that teacher will be good with that appraisal for another month. On the other hand, I know which teachers I need to touch base with every single day, offer kudos and specific praise because I know that will be spread this positivity to the kids that day.

Bill Salonen, NAESP 2014 National Distinguished Principal for Montana at Morningside Elementary in the Great Falls School District, is the epitome of "teacher celebration." Having worked for this unbelievable man, I picked up so many tips and tricks for my own school. I learned one of his most powerful strategies, "The Morning Walkthrough." Kids were not in classrooms until 8:25 AM; Mr. Salonen would walk to every single classroom before instruction started to say "hello." He would ask about you? He would ask about your family? He would ask about "Little Johnny" today! He would offer support…support for whatever may come out of the woodwork! Mr. Salonen knew every teacher on a personal level and knew where each teacher was at…mentally! This gave him insight into what I needed as a teacher to be successful with students for the day.

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Dr. Salonen, "Doctor of Celebration," would put hand written notes into my mailbox, leave chocolate in places he knew I would be, talk to kids about the great things I was doing as a teacher. He would offer to cover for me when I had to leave early for a kid's appointment, take a recess duty when I was working with a kid in my classroom, or even take a student for a walk when I was about ready to pull my hair out! Those are the things I loved and that's how I wanted to be celebrated and recognized!

With Teacher Appreciation this week upon us, talk with your colleagues on how you like to be celebrated. What do you need to be successful? Does your principal know that? If not, let him or her know, "Hey, I need you to point out something specific that I am doing in my classroom with students once a month to know that I am on the right track."

In the comments below, list how you like your principal to celebrate you!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!