As principal, in order for my teachers to really believe that I could offer them suggestions, I made a point of being in the class, working along side them whenever I could. I have been their supply teacher often, I modeled what I suggested so teachers could see the suggestion in action, and I worked with the students included in their classrooms (with the ed assistant or as the supply ed assistant if needed). If something needed to be done to support teachers, I did not hesitate to roll up my sleeves and get it done. Teachers knew they could trust me to support them in every way. So when we came to the point where we needed to change to move forward, the relationships were built and we could move forward. The trust was evident and we could make the changes needed to ensure learning for all students.
Now as a supervisor, it is up to me to build those relationships again with my new team. I need to get to know my team and they need to get to know me so they can trust me in all things. I need to earn their trust and respect. I make sure I am trustworthy and what I say, I will do.
In the short time I have worked with my team, we have worked closely together and have had many discussions around students, each sharing our expertise. I have taken the time to go along with staff on student observations, we have talked about how they deal with workload and how I can make their work easier, and we have had many, many discussions about process as I learn so many new things.
Collaboration has become key in all we do and I think through this wonderful collaboration we will move the cause of inclusion further in our schools. At the beginning of the year, we revisited the mission and vision statement of our board to see how our work aligns. It was a good exercise to remind us about why we do the work we do. We discussed our priorities for the year and how we would work to meet the needs of our students. This set the tone for the year to be open and collaborative and on the same journey.
I work with AMAZING people who have inclusion at the forefront of their work. They want to see students successful in their community schools. They are willing to work with staff to make sure this happens. They are passionate and they love kids! I am so lucky to have such a great team!