This is a short post that contains an important reminder for the start of the school year: faculty (teachers and administrators) are not the only ones who work at a school. I know we know this, but we often don’t know who they are.
Schools employ many folks that help support our students and faculty including office assistants, custodians, paraprofessionals, counselors, social workers, interpreters, maintenance workers, substitute teachers, volunteers, and lunchroom workers (and others I am sure I left off this list). Some of these people work at our schools daily and others might split their time among many schools. The people in these roles are important in supporting us and our students; however, they may lack the job security, pay, and benefits faculty receive.
As we start the new school year, I am asking each of us to take some time to get to know the other people who who work in your school, with you and your students. Here are some ways you might better know the staff in your building:
- Ask them their name and make sure you have the pronunciation correct.
- Get to know something about them. It’s nice to ask questions about others’ lives such as if they have children that go to the school or if they have interests or hobbies outside of school.
- Drop them a note to acknowledge something they’ve done that has helped you out. For example, if the copy person was able to do a last minute favor for you, write a quick thank you note.
- Make sure to acknowledge their contributions publicly. Help make sure that your colleagues know the staff’s names as well.
This is something I am trying to do better with this this year and I hope this post reminds you to do so as well. Remember, it takes a community to educate our students and to create a positive work environment for us. If you have any helpful tips for acknowledging and getting to know the folks who work in your building, share them in the comments!