Keeping People Happy
While it is important to work toward building strong relations with everyone on your staff, you need to realize that there are some people who can really help make your time teaching more profitable and enjoyable. Therefore, it is important to know who you should spend some extra time getting to know.
Obviously, you will want to get along with as many people as you can in your teaching job in order to create a happy work environment for yourself. The focus on specific individuals in this chapter is meant to highlight those individuals who can have a significant impact on your day-to-day job. When you build good relations with key people, you will find that they will bend over backward to help you out.
It goes without saying that when you first begin teaching — and throughout your career — you need to keep your bosses happy. They are the ones who control whether you will be hired each year. They are also responsible for dispersing teaching assignments, which can make your life easier or more difficult.
Many times, new teachers get the most difficult schedules, which often include multiple preps. If you are seen as a hard worker and a team player, it's hoped that the administration will do its best to lighten your load as soon as they can. However, if you cause them problems or are difficult to work with, they will be much less likely to look for ways to reward you.
When you are dealing with the school administration, there will probably be varying personalities at play. You should focus on the assistant principal directly in charge of you along with the principal of the school. These two people are most likely to influence decisions about your future.
At many schools, the administration is seen as having an adversarial role in its relationship with the teachers. This is especially compounded when a former teacher becomes an administrator. This situation does not have to be the case if lines of communication are kept open.
While the administration is important for the big decisions, like making teaching assignments, the office and administrative staff are much more important on a day-to-day basis. The people in the office that you need to make sure and build relationships with are these:
The principal's secretary
The substitute coordinator
The benefits coordinator
Each of these people can help make your life easier as the year goes on. The principal's secretary controls your access to the principal. This is important if you want to be able to discuss something with the principal.
The bookkeeper is important because you will be dealing with him in a variety of ways throughout your career. You will probably be collecting money at some point for field trips or as a club sponsor. This money gets turned into the bookkeeper at the end of each day.
By keeping this individual happy, you are going to make this time-consuming occurrence much more pleasant. Further, if you make mistakes, you will be much more likely to be quickly forgiven and gain needed assistance.
The substitute coordinator is very important because she controls who gets placed in your class when you are sick. Make sure that you know the procedures so that you can follow them to the letter. If you are on good terms with the substitute coordinator, you are more likely to get your requests put through for specific substitutes. You will also probably be treated better when you do have to call in sick.
The registrar can be important when it comes time to turn in grades. He is also the person who handles grade changes in the unlikely event that a mistake is made. While you might not be dealing with this individual on a day-to-day basis, it is a great idea to build a good relationship here. That way, when you do have a request, it will be dealt with quickly.
The benefits coordinator is an important person at your school because she can help you when important decisions come up. She will probably be the person you will get in touch with if you are hurt. She will also be your first point of contact when you have questions about your benefits.
The purpose of building relationships should be more than just trying to get special favors. The relationships you build could lead to lifelong professional and personal friendships.
Other members of the staff are also important to your career as a teacher. The most important are the media center or library personnel, the technology coordinator, and your custodian. The media center personnel are important because they are in charge of scheduling time in the media center. If you have a good working relationship with these individuals, you will be given more leeway.
Part of building this relationship is to be on top of discipline issues while in the media center. If you show that you are trying to keep your students under control, you will be rewarded with preferential treatment above those teachers who do not watch their students carefully.
Technology coordinators are important because they control the borrowing of technology at the school. They usually have a central location where all equipment is stored. If you have a strong relationship with these people, you will find that it is easier to get the items you need when you need them. Further, they will be more likely to keep you in mind as they order new software and hardware.
One final individual that you really need to take some time getting to know is your custodian. Usually a good relationship means a better job cleaning your room. Many of these hard-working individuals are not given the respect they deserve. If you treat them well, you will be well rewarded.