When you become a teacher, you become a part of a huge team. Your place in the team is important, but it is also important to place value on the other members of the team. I am not talking about your fellow teachers, but the various secretaries, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, custodians, maintenance workers, and bus drivers that you work with each day. This article will list ten ways for you to maintain great relationships with the support staff in your district:
1. Treat them how you would want to be treated.
2. Find out when their birthday is, and give them a little something to show that you care.
3. There is also an event called “Support Professionals Week” that takes place right around Thanksgiving every year.
4. Every once in a while, during your conference period, surprise the school secretary by offering to answer phones for her.
5. When a spill happens in your room, clean it up yourself.
6. Don’t call for the security guard every time someone acts up in your room.
7. Find out what kind of coffee your school nurse likes, and bring her a cup one morning.
8. When you get your lunch in the school cafeteria, comment on the food in a positive way.
You may be asking yourself…what’s in it for me? If you are, shame on you! You should do nice things for people just because it’s the right thing to do! O.K., just kidding…there are some benefits to this strategy: You inspire other teachers to do nice things for the support staff too, which improves morale building wide. Another benefit is that most people will respond in kind when you do nice things for them. When I was teaching, the secretaries did most of my photocopying…I had a fresh salad waiting for me every day at lunch (even when it wasn’t “Salad Day”)…any requests I had for the maintenance department were addressed the next day (if it wasn’t addressed later that SAME day)…and my room was the cleanest room in my section of the building. The most important benefit of all was that I had a “positive vibe” around me. Whenever the Principal or Superintendent heard my name mentioned, more often than not it was mentioned by someone saying how nice I was, or thoughtful, or selfless. Build up points when you can, because there will always come a time when negative events happen. If you have points in the bank, people at every level of the organization will be more willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.