Administrators and teachers, how is the environment of your school? How is the focus? WHERE is the focus?
I know that you have heard those questions before and you may be rolling your eyes. This is an important question! Your attitude has a significant impact on the morale of fellow teachers AND of your students. How you frame your words along with your attitude and your demeanor will play a role in the climate of your school.
I think back to a quote from Principal Skinner in an episode of The Simpsons: “Attention: All honor students will be rewarded with a trip to an archaeological dig. Conversely, all detention students will be punished with a trip to an archaeological dig.”
Is teaching and leading a “reward” or a “punishment?”
Let me give you a real-world example: I taught with someone who, in response to “Good morning” would say, “What’s so good about it?” How do you think that made me feel? In addition to the inability to respond, I would spend the rest of the day wondering if I should talk to this person because I didn’t know what the reaction would be. The words and attitude created a culture.
Now… why do I bring this up? Because of example B!
Yesterday, I sat in a meeting about scheduling for the 15-16 school year. Think about this: we are meeting, AFTER a faculty meeting, discussing SCHEDULES for the next year. This is not the typical environment for people to “shine.”
But they did.
Our teachers were ALL very active and engaged, speaking passionately about teaching and education. And the best part came when, in the course of discussing schedule changes, a teacher asked, “Are there any Lutheran schools that do this well?”
The response by one teacher: “WE will be the ones who do it well.”
There it is. That is our culture here, friends. It is not something that the administration alone has created, though administration has tried to nurture it. It a culture that has been created by pastors, administrators, teachers, parents, students, and ALL staff members working in accord with the knowledge and understanding that we will strive to be the best.
We strive to provide the best environment and the best education. We strive to be the best in all of our extracurriculars. We strive to be the best in meeting the needs of students and families. We strive to boldly proclaim and live the Gospel in the clearest of terms and actions, not of our own merit or strength, but only through the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.
How can you NOT be excited to be in that environment? How can you NOT want to be a part of that ministry?
If you are in a school that is experiencing a cultural depression, apathy, or even anger and discord, ask yourself: “What can I do to affect change?” You cannot control others, but you can control your own attitude, words, and actions. In so doing, you may influence others to be positive voices. Systemic change is never easy or quick, but commit to it!
After all, Lutheran schools–with the truth of Scripture as our foundation–have EVERY reason to gladly face the school day!