*This is the first of previous MoviePrincipal posts that I am revamping for BlogGaud. In writing that, I got a yucky “Clip Show” feeling. Hopefully, the changes made will make the rereads worthwhile.
Previous experiences dictate how individuals approach new situations.
As a school principal, we often fill vacancies with veteran teachers. Most of the time I am unfamiliar with the working conditions or cultures of the schools from which a teacher is transitioning. From time to time I hear horror stories about “how bad” it was. It is important to take these accounts with a grain of salt. We all know the propensity for hyperbole in education.
Regardless of the validity of these nightmare situations, or even if a teacher transferred from a good experience, it is my responsibility to make our school the final career stop for the teacher.
Above is my favorite scene from As Good as It Gets. Unfortunately, Carol (Helen Hunt) has a past riddled with horror stories. Making matters worse is the fact that all the suffering directly impacts the health of her son. Understandably, her guard is up when she first meets Dr. Bettes (Harold Ramis). But, at the end of the conversation, the look on Carol’s face when Dr. Bettes says, “Whatever I find out, I promise you, at the very least, from now on your son is going to feel a great deal better” shows how appreciative, relieved, and grateful she is knowing that her son will be taken care of.
I think about Carol’s silent reaction (3:16-3:20) whenever we hire a new teacher. It is my responsibility that whenever someone joins our team, they feel like that no matter what their previous experiences were, it’s going to get a lot better.
This mindset is transferable to teachers and their classrooms. When you start a new school year, you don’t know what a student’s previous year was like. Additionally, the parents of your students might be weary of schools, because their educational experience was less than ideal. It’s not a bad thing to assume that every kid in your class had the worst year ever and that all your parents hated school when they were growing up, and it’s your responsibility to make them love it by June.
There’s an off chance that a couple of my 11 readers (aiming high here) work in fields outside of education. It doesn’t matter. The message is universal. When working with people, whether they are new co-workers or clients, craft your interactions as if their last job or sales meeting was awful. Perpetually trying to account for the nightmares (real or not) of one’s past will ensure you are creating a warm work environment for your new teammate or an opportunity to do business with a new client.
People want the grass to be greener. So, install sprinklers, spread fertilizer, mow regularly, and give everyone the work/learning environment they deserve.