Friday, June 19, 2015

Building Relationships with Other Teachers

Sometimes, when I don't know another teacher in my building very well, I feel awkward and unsure of how to approach them.  The copy room can become an uncomfortable space when you don't know a teacher and don't know what to say.   Over the last few years, I have realized a few things to help you get to know the teachers you work with better!

1.   SMILE!  

Smiling is the number one thing I get frustrated about with colleagues I don't know.  I feel like a teacher doesn't like me if they don't smile at time in the hall.  (I know, I know - I'm being self-conscious.  Sometimes others are in a hurry, etc.  I just feel that it is common curtesy to smile!) If a colleague smiles and nods their head as we pass in the hallway, it shows that they are kind and approachable.   A relationship is more likely to be built between to teachers if they feel that the other is approachable.  Plus, smiling at someone makes them feel good about themselves- and everyone like to feel good!  

2.   Listen 

So much of building relationships with colleagues is listening and asking questions that require the person to talk to you.  If you listen to what the other teacher says- things they are teaching, problem students, frustrations, positive ideas for the classroom, their summer vacation,  the car problems they are having, and more, then you will be able to ask them about it the next time you talk.  This makes people feel like you care!  I know from experience!  When people remember things about me, it makes me feel important and in turn will help build a good relationship with me.

3.  Ask for advice 

Every teacher likes to share their own ideas about how they approach a topic.  Whether it is writing an essay, dealing with a problem student, or implementing a new intervention strategy, all teachers like to share their way of doing things.  Advice giving encourages teachers to feel confident in their own decisions by sharing creative ideas to help others.

I have also found that good relationships can be build with teachers with whom I share students.  If we begin talking about a student, not only do we attempt to help that student do well, we also give advice to each other based on how we've handled that student in the past.  This allows us to build a stronger relationship- leaning upon each other for shared resources.

4.  Build positive social time into the school year 

Two years ago, when I moved to the language hallway of our school, I was welcomed into a large family.   We regularly celebrate each other's successes and are almost always looking for an "excuse" to throw a carry in lunch held in a classroom during our shared lunch time.   We celebrate birthdays, babies, graduations, house purchases, retirements, and so much more.   These people are there to share in my successes and I in theirs.

We also plan a back to school brunch held at a colleague's home the last week of summer so that we can catch up, discuss classroom ideas and summer vacations, and share our lives.  We invite the new teachers in our departments so that they can feel welcomed - and we can get to know them! I look forward to these brunches each year.  The positive atmosphere we create makes it hard to not feel like we have positive relationships.   I cannot say how much I appreciate these teachers and their impact in my life. Looking for ways to build your own positive time with teachers is important for teachers sanity.   Seek out ways to make this time with your own hallway/ department.

Some of my hallway's crazy get togethers:
Wedding celebration for my hubby and me

80s day during Homecoming Week 

Retirement lunch 

How do you build relationships with your colleagues???

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