I invite my principal into my classroom early and often… and you guessed it… I’m going to share the hows and whys of this approach with you today!
Why Do I want my principal in my classroom?
1.Get to know your principal and his/her perspective.
You can get to know a lot about early and non-evaluative interactions with your principal. What kinds of activities do they value? Do they seem to mind a little bit of chatter? What questions do they have for you?
2.You’re doing awesome things and your principal wants to know about them!
Show off the wonderful things your students are doing in the classroom! This is a great opportunity to showcase routines you love so your principal can get to know you as a teacher! Your principal wants to see and know about the awesome things happening in the school!
3. You can schedule these early invited visits.
If you’re nervous about those informal observations, which can be done at any time of the day, inviting the principal in is even MORE important! You have the ability to give your principal a glimpse into ideal times of the day with a really low key and non-evaluative tone!
4. Your students will be familiar with the principal
Your students will be much more likely to behave more “normally” when the principal comes in for observations or for a visit if they are used to seeing him/her in the classroom on a more regular basis! I have had those students who try to act out a bit when the principal comes into the room (aka throwing erasers across the room while side eyeing the principal). I have found that these behaviors tend to lessen as the principal visits more and more and is able to establish a relationship with the principal! If these visits aren’t able to be very frequent, your students can even write letters, or leave a picture of something they’ve done in the principal’s mailbox.
5. Frequent visits give evaluative observations context.
Many of the above points really lend themselves to giving your principal context. When it comes to observations, for example, your principal has a very limited time to see what’s happening in your classroom. If you give him/her an opportunity to come into the classroom to see your daily routines, questioning techniques, and classroom management, your principal is going to “get the feel” for your classroom. If something goes terribly wrong during your observation, your principal will know this is not how you run your classroom. If you choose to ignore negative behavior, your principal will know that student may have a behavior plan which requires this.
When should I invite the principal to my classroom?
1.Look for an early opportunity.
The beginning of the year is really a “get to know you” time of year! Choose a get to know you opportunity for the principal to come participate in. If you teach a visitor routine, ask the principal to pop in so your class can practice/ show their routine for visitors.
2. During a creative activity you do!
I have begun teaching through a lot of movement. This is unique kind of routine that we do in my classroom and is not a school wide approach, so I’ve invited the principal in to come see this activity. I also do some really fun science/ STEM activities, so I’ll often send my principal
3.Invite the principal to read a story.
Students LOVE guest readers. This is a great way to build relationships between your students and the principal.
4. Showcase student work.
When students work hard on an activity, ask the principal to come in to see them share. If your principal is super busy, you can also invite him/ her to check out work in the hallway and come in to tell students what they think.
How should I go about inviting the principal?
1.Send a quick e-mail.
I have found a quick e-mail to be the best way to reach the principal. I send a low pressure message like “Good morning! My class has been working hard on ______ and would love for you to come take a peek!” or “Good Afternoon! My class has worked hard to build rafts for the gingerbread man! At 2:30 we’re going to be testing them out if you’d like to swing by to check it out!”
2. Mention it in passing.
You can mention that you’d love the principal to come in to read a story to the class or come in for some sort of activity. This type of invite will probably need follow up, but this is a great way to plant the seed and let the principal know they’re welcome!
3. Have students make invitations.
I usually employ this task once I have already verified that the principal can come if the invite is for a certain event (ie book performance). If it is a more open ended invite, like for a story time, I’ll have students write to invite first.
Remember that your principal is super busy too! He/ she may not be able to come into the classroom as much as you’d both like, but opening that door with invitations really does pay off , build a more positive school climate, and make for a more enriched experience for students, teachers, and administration!
Let me know how your visit went!