Building Support - Intentionally Creating a Support System Outside of the Classroom

The relationships you create with your students aren’t the only ones worth being intentional about



My last blog created the foundation for your building relationships with students, but we can’t stop there. Relationships are at the core of what we do and necessary to our success. So where else can we intentionally build quality relationships?


Fellow Teachers

Let’s be honest – our first line of defense and support is our fellow educators. This is just not a job where you can go it alone and stay sane. But you do have to be careful that you choose wisely. So, you know, be intentional. You don’t want to surround yourself with Negative Nancy and Debbie Downer. Find someone who can push you, listen to you vent, plan lessons over coffee, or make you laugh when you’ve had an otherwise awful day. Don’t always lock yourself away in your room. Intentionally spend time with your fellow teachers.


Set an intention:

I will actively build professional and positive relationships with my fellow educators (AKA I will not hide away from all of my co-workers and will be social!)


Administrators

Depending on your campus situation, it can sometimes be easy to see your administrators as opposition instead of allies. But the fact is, you are all on the same team. The more you have the support of administration, the more you can do in your classroom. It’s worth getting to know your admin team. Need support with an off-task student? They might know that student and be able to give you insight or they might be able to talk to the student. Maybe they can even offer advice. Need specific supplies? They might just be able to help you out. This is more likely to happen if they know you (a challenge in some large schools). You might need to be the one to initiate and reach out.


Set an intention:

I will actively seek to build a positive and professional relationship with at least one person on the administrative team.


Parents

Sometimes your biggest allies in helping a child are their parents. Consider this at the beginning of the year before you run into issues with a student. This way you can reach out to parents in a positive way – not because there is a problem – but as more of an introduction. You can say how excited you are to have their son or daughter in your class. This way if there are issues down the road, you have already started to build a relationship before they get that dreaded phone call.


Set an intention:

I will make every effort to speak to each students’ parents within the first two to three weeks of school.


Community Members

Maybe your students need mentors? Maybe you want to create a service learning project? Who better to help you make this happen than members of the community? Think about who you could strategically enlist to help you with your big goals (intentions!) for the year. Make it happen!


Set an intention:

I will reach out to strategic members of the community to make it [goal/intention] happen.


Custodians

When you get locked out of your room, or need a trash can, or wonder where you can find X, Y, or Z… guess who might be able to help you with that? And they are the people you work with that help you every day. Do not underestimate the value of building a positive relationship with your custodians.


Set an intention

I will say “hi” and engage in conversation with the custodians on my campus.


Administrative assistants and other office staff

You know when you need that substitute at the last minute? Or help with that purchase order? Or you really need to speak with the principal? Administrative assistants make that happen. Don't forget to smile and say hi. They make a lot of things happen on campus!


Set an intention:

I will greet the administrative assistants on my campus every morning and when I see them. I will be helpful whenever I can.


Athletic coaches


You know those athletes in your class? They all have a coach. Do not hesitate to enlist coaches' help in supporting those student athletes. They spend many hours of practice with those students and can be a big help in getting them on track.


Set an intention:

Reach out to coaches early in the year to create a common mission of supporting student athletes.


This is just the start. Who on your campus or in your community is worth a morning greeting and a chat over morning coffee? This isn't a job where you can go it alone, so building a supportive network is a must. Build it intentionally and you will gain the support you need!

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