15 comments on “Top 5: what administrators need from their teachers

  1. This post really had me thinking, so thank you for that. Never before had I even thought of what an administrator needs from me. I always just “knew”. The choice of language you have chosen here makes me as an educator feel empowered. Everyone likes to be needed and asking us as educators to think, what does the “boss” need from me puts a very different perspective on our day to day.

    I especially agree with your number two: collaborate with your colleagues. It is not just the people in your building but others in your board, district, province/state and globally. Understanding this is liberating, encouraging and motivating for a teacher. Great post.

    • Thanks, Maria.
      I found writing this post to be tricky to find the right balance between the culture of learning and supporting the culture of the school.
      I appreciate you taking the time to respond, and I’m glad it made you stop to think about it.

  2. I really liked this post, Bryn, and found it great to hear what an administrator needs from teachers. My question to you would be, how do you communicate this to teachers? I think it would be great for teachers and admin to talk about the ideas that you suggested here, and look together at what they need from each other.


    • Good question, Aviva. How can administrators communicate what they need from teachers TO teachers themselves? Sometimes teachers assume that what administrators want is compliance. This is not always the case; an excellent administrator does not want that at all.

      • I totally agree! My admin have communicated exactly the opposite to staff. I think this is important: let the teachers know that you want/appreciate their ideas. This creates a great climate for sharing and learning together!


  3. Hi Bryn,

    This was a really interesting read and I love how you gathered feedback from your PLN to help you with this post. Like Maria said, I forget to empathize with admin and think about what they need from us teachers. I really appreciate reading your point of view on this.

    After reading your post, the last bit struck me. I feel like not all teachers could be admin. It’s certainly not a position I would like. I love being in the classroom too much. Do you miss the classroom? If so, how do you make sure that you are still feeding that need in yourself? Do you manage to get away from your office and check in on and take part in the learning around the school?


    • Thanks, Shauna!
      I get into classrooms as often as possible. I hope to get into a rhythm where I go in at one classroom every day for a bit.
      Sadly, with the teacher’s strike still going, I have no idea when I’ll get that chance next.

  4. I agree that teaching is the best profession. Bryn, I think you have some great ideas in your post. I think support from administration is important. Knowing that the administrator’s door – physically and virtually – is open is a very cool thing. Working along side my administrator, Chris Wejr, I find that it is great to see how he blogs about his experiences. I think you running this blog is a great way to connect with your staff. They get to know you as a person and your ideas. Thanks for your insights and I look forward to learning more from you!

  5. Hi, Bryn

    I enjoyed reading this post and the replies. The attention Centennial’s admin team give to classroom culture and innovation is always welcome with me. It’s a shame that so many other responsibilities limit the opportunity. Zambrano’s reply was a much needed reminder of the vision he has for staff.

    The structure of this entry was very effective and engaging. Great idea to tell the story with examples first and then give your own synthesis. Speaking for myself, mutual trust is the #1 ingredient in all educational relationships. All the combinations of admin, teacher, student, assistant, and parent cannot be fully effective without it.

  6. Hi Bryn, I’m glad you decided to ask that question! There can be a great tension and even frustration on both sides if there isn’t clarity around what each party needs or expects from the other. I bet there are teachers who would be surprised by this list. They might think that administrators want teachers who follow policy, who don’t bring them problems, and who do their thing in their classroom without making waves. But that would be very boring and wouldn’t be helpful in, as you said, addressing the changing needs of our students and building a culture of openness, collaboration, innovation and trust. How do we let our staff know what we need from them? I guess the best way is to tell them. I believe “those who don’t communicate their expectations don’t have any right to hold them.”

  7. Hi Bryn! Great post…glad you had the time to put these thoughts down. As we have discussed before, the needs within all levels of the learning community are similar. But your thoughts point to the importance of building strong relationships. It can be a challenge at times to find positive ways to continue the growth of some of these professional relationships – especially when there is a power differential (real or imagined). So, your post leaves me pondering how I can make myself as a teacher more open to my students so that my relationship with each student continues to grow – especially through the ‘bumps’ that occur along the way!

  8. Loved this post! I think that in many ways what administrators want and need from teachers is very similar to what teachers want and need from administrators: trust, respect, a willingness to try new things, reflection, celebration of successes and an acceptance that sometimes things won’t work out exactly as we envisioned them, and acknowledgement on a daily basis and not only once in a while. It is so encouraging when your administrator notices things that you do, big and small, and lets you know that s/he notices that. It makes me want to try harder and buy in is greater. Being positive goes a long way!

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