The challenges facing teachers are immense and intimidating. They can leave us feeling worn out and a little defeated on even our best days. This is just one reason why supportive, caring administrators are such an essential part of a healthy, functioning school. Good principals can make teachers feel supported and empowered. They make their teachers better and are there for them when they stumble.
U.S. Senator, Cory Booker, stated, “Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.” The best administrators live this each day. We asked teachers to share the things an administrator did for them that they’ll always be grateful for. Their answers left our hearts a bit fuller and made us so grateful for the excellent principals and administrators out there.
They see the best in us, even when we don’t
- [She] believed in me more than I believed in myself. She encouraged me to go to grad school and pursue my dreams. —Deanna T.
- I’ve had so many admin who have been great to work with. The common thread is they care for people above curriculum or rules. They each knew when to push to get that extra bit, when to pull back because the struggle was real, and most importantly, how to give credit where credit is due. Those are the admins who deserve praise. —Darrell W.
- She told me that she hired me because she trusted me to do my job, and the only time she requested that I run something by her was if it was going to be a legal issue or if I truly needed help. That helped give me confidence in myself and really helped me grow as a teacher. —Marya S.
They understand teachers can’t be perfect every day
- When COVID came, there were no volunteers allowed in my prep class. My principal at the time made herself available for my literacy rotations. I was pretty impressed! —Kyla D.
- When I was pregnant with my first child, I had awful “morning sickness” that seemed to kick in in the afternoons. He would come by my classroom most days and ask for the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” If it was “thumbs down,” he would stay with my class for a while so I could go regroup. —Jen D.
- My principal came into my Yoga/Nutrition class and did yoga with my class—he stayed the whole time! Not only did I appreciate it, but my students did too! As a follow-up to my “evaluation,” he told me he was impressed—literally one of my favorite evaluations I have ever received! —Abby H.
They have our backs when we need their support
- Always promised to stand behind…their teachers when an issue would come up with a parent/student. If there was something to be discussed with the teacher, it was always done in private (not in front of families). —Teri B.
- My former assistant principal would leave “you’ve got this” type notes during some of the toughest times. She could see when one struggled even if they had a smile and masked it well. —Lisa B.
- My assistant principal interrupted me explaining my situation with some tough parents that year by saying, “hold on a minute. You know you’re a great teacher, right? Please don’t let this year make you feel otherwise.” —Eve R.
They understand our own families come first
- My principal covered my morning classes so I could be with my dad for his first chemo treatments. —Danica J.
- One August, my principal had us address an envelope to a significant other (spouse, child, parent, etc.). During our birthday month, she wrote a note thanking that person for sharing us with the school. She gave specific examples of things she appreciated about us. My husband opened the card and was deeply touched by what she had written. —Dawn G.
- I got a call from my son’s school telling me he had broken his arm on the playground. I was in the middle of class and had no clue what to do. My principal came to my room and told me that she had everything covered for the rest of that day and the next one. I didn’t need to put in for an absence or write sub plans, she’d take care of it. It was such a relief just to be able to go be with my son and not have to try to create sub plans first. I’ll never forget her kindness and consideration. —Darla L.
They lead by example
- He would read my read aloud to my class after lunch (for 2 weeks) when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my twins. He had me sit at my desk, put my feet up, and rest. Never will forget his kindness, nor will the students. —Jana W.
- She modeled a lesson for me in my classroom and gave me feedback. She was very encouraging. —Daisy V.
- I had a principal who came into my class 25 minutes a week. He taught whatever I was teaching. He said the only way he could get a true picture of the kids was to see them interact in the classroom! Best Principal EVER! —Nancy O.