As I started moving cases, I heard my principal ask me, “Can I give you a hand?” Before I could respond, he had an armful of cases and was carrying them backstage.
Every morning, no matter what the temperature, she was outside welcoming students and parents to the school. With a handshake and a smile, she looked people in their eyes, and greeted people by name. She explained to the faculty that this is what we do in our school. We demonstrate love and respect by showing that we know the people in our school and that they are always worth our time.
No, we didn’t need doughnuts that morning and frankly, I wasn’t in the mood for carbs covered in sugar, but it was more about the gesture. The whole music department had been working for months on this festival and it was finally here. Seeing the box of doughnuts with that supportive note put a smile on my face, which got me ready for the insanity of the day.
At first I thought it was strange how often the administrators thanked the faculty. We got a big thank you at the opening year. Almost every time the faculty collected, even in smaller groups, the different members of the admin team expressed gratitude for our work.
Why do I need to be thanked for doing work that I’m being paid to do?
Then I had one of those days. The last thing I wanted to do was go to a meeting after school. I found a seat in the back of the auditorium, frustrated and tired from the day. As I slumped down in the seat, the principal started thanking us for our work. In that moment, I sat up and let the words effect me. He wasn’t thanking me for himself; he was expressing the thanks and the gratitude from our students’ families.
Yes, teachers do get paid, but the extra time we give and the effort we put into our jobs cannot be monetized. It is this dedication that needs to be recognized, it needs to be nurtured. Administrators most important job is to do this, to make sure that the extra hours are noticed and that the teachers’ are supported. Great administrators get their hands dirty, say yes more than no and never forget to say thank you.