Sunday, April 21, 2013

Three Things You Can Do Tomorrow to Help Build Your School Climate

"It's all about relationships".  How many times have you heard that?  I'm a firm believer that it just happens to be true.  Without good school climate, based on honest and caring relationships, nothing you attempt will meet with the success it might if your school climate was a positive or stronger one.  With that in mind, here are three things you can do tomorrow to help build school climate.  And by the way, this is not just about what principals or other administrators can do.  This is about what anyone who works in a school can do to help make that school a happier and more productive place. 

1) Ask for Feedback: As a principal, I make it a practice to ask for feedback from all of our school's stakeholders.  But no matter your role, you too can ask for feedback from your stakeholders or customers.  Tomorrow, whether you are a principal, teacher, cafeteia manager or custodian, consider randomly contacting one of your "customers" and asking three questions: 1) What are we doing well?; 2) What could we improve upon?; and 3) Is there anything that your would like to share with me about our school/classroom/cafeteria?  Make this a weekly habit. Listening and giving people a chance to voice their opinions will improve your school climate in significant ways.

2) Stop and Ask, "How are you? How can I help you?". Expressing genuine concern for someone and being there to help them with anything they might need help with can't help but strengthen relationships and enhance school climate.  They may say they are fine and there is nothing you can do to help them at the moment. Great!  But end the conversation by reminding them that you appreciate them and are there for them anytime they need you. 

3) Commit a Random Act of Kindness.  Do something nice for someone.  Put a piece of candy on someone's desk.  Put a piece of paper with a smiley face on someone's desk or chair that says, "You are appreciated! Have a great day!".  Whatever you choose to do need not be complicated or time-consuming.  Keep it simple.  Also, consider doing it anonymously.  Doing something for someone else and not expecting anything in return, not even gratitude, will not only make the other person feel good, it will make you feel good as well. 

Do these three things tomorrow, and then make a habit of doing them regularly. Don't wait! These small things will pay huge dividends in enhancing your school climate! 

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