I know you are excited. I see it on Twitter, I hear it on Voxer, and in the conversations I am lucky enough to be a part of. School is starting and another year is about to begin. The big ideas are ready, the new initiatives, the dreams, hopes, wishes that come bundled with the start of a new school year. There is so much potential surrounding you. So much to do. And so little time to waste.
But before you get too far in your dreams, think small first, please. Before you roll out all of the new initiatives, the changes that you know will make everything so much better for everyone, yourself included, make me a promise first; promise to take care of the little things as soon as possible.
Yes, I know it is not fun or exciting to think about those things that you promise teachers that you will do, like approving a form, emailing a parent, looking up that long lost order. But those little things? They make a big difference to us teachers. Those little things that you may not think deserves your limited time right now, those are the ones we need you to also take care of because those things add up to a whole lot of stress for us when left undone. In fact, some of those little things may be stopping us from fulfilling our big dreams, hopes, and wishes.
An amazing school doesn’t just come from dreams. It is built upon a foundation of trust, of accountability, of feeling respected. And all three of those are built on getting the management side of your job done for those who need it. There are certain things that we teachers can only ask you to do, we don’t mean to burden you, we don’t mean to add more tasks to your already busy day, but there are some things we are not allowed to do or we are not capable of doing. There are some things we need you for to make our jobs easier.
So this year, please do dream big. Please do work for change. Get excited about the big things. But don’t forget the little things, those boring to-do tasks that don’t seem pressing. To you they may be able to wait, but to me, it matters so much that you got them done. That I can trust you to get them done. That I know that even the small things deserve attention in the journey we are on.
PS: Shannon or Jason, if you read this, you do this. Thank you from the bottom of my very excited heart.
I am a passionate teacher in Wisconsin, USA, who has taught 4, 5th, and 7th grade. Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day. First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press. Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” can be pre-ordered from Corwin Press now. Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.
3 thoughts on “Dear Administrators, Please Don’t Forget About the Little Things”
Thank you for the great reminder for our principals. It could relieve a lot of frustration as the new year begins.
You are SO right, Pernille! It IS easy to get caught up in the excitement that comes with a new school year. It’s easy to forget what a difference ordering that chair for a teacher who doesn’t have one, listening to the concerns or fears of a staff member or making sure that the orange traffic cones are in place for the crossing guards, helping clean out the jammed-packed cabinets of a teacher who has moved to a new room, or sitting beside and supporting teachers in meeting with unhappy parents… But those little things truly ARE the big things. My hope is that by doing the “little” things consistently enough, I will have contributed to the feeling of excitement and passion permeating the building. That by freeing staff of dome of those “little” things, they are able to dream a little bigger. But your reminder is a very valid one and one that will stay in the back of my mind as we begin another year !
Pernille this is so true and I do my best to remember this. I always try to tell myself that it is the importance of the person that I must consider and not the task or they favor they need from me. What I mean is that every person should be valued. It is very easy to stop and think that what was asked of me is not that big compared to what I “think” may be more important. But it matters to them and that’s all I need to consider. Thanks for the reminder.