I’ve been thinking a lot lately about school culture. As I reflect over the last several years, I remember times when I tried to escape complainers, times when I became a complainer, and times when I tried to stop complaining. My focus, mostly, has been on myself — how other teachers’ attitudes are affecting ME. And sometimes I think about how I affect those I work with most closely, or those I eat lunch with.
But I’ve been thinking more lately about the school as a whole.
In the past, I admit I figured it was the principal’s job to impact or change school culture. And I do still think the administration plays a large role in the attitude and morale of a school. For example, when I see administrators in the hallways, saying hi to teachers and students, popping into classrooms just to visit — not to do an evaluation or pull out a kid for a discipline issue — that’s when I feel like they really care about the nuts and bolts of the school. When one of the administrators takes time to eat lunch with teachers, or to pop into a classroom after school just to see how a teacher is doing, it shows a willingness to connect and not just to be in charge.
But principals and other administrators have a big job. I know that sometimes they get busy. So I started thinking about what I can do personally to impact and improve school culture.
I spend way too much time on Pinterest, but it’s there that I’ve found some ideas that might work, and that wouldn’t take too much time or energy. Staff Shout-Out boards in the faculty lounge, an easy opportunity to write a note of encouragement and stick it in another teacher’s mailbox — these things aren’t hard, and I could set them up myself.
Sure, maybe it’s not “my job” to do that sort of thing, but I’d much rather work in a place where people are happy than in a place where Grumble Pie is on the menu every day.
And maybe, if I take the first step, others will join in and start going above and beyond to help improve the school culture as well. That’s my hope. I want a happy school, and maybe I can help make it happen.