My pictures are random as they are only stopping points for reflection.
Affirmation, commendation, thankfulness, and confident confirmation are all things that all school leaders need to think about all the time. They are different and they need to be thought of differently.
So let me, from my experience, help you understand them as I understand them.
Affirmation is the teacher that comes to you and "has a plan" it might be academic, management, or dealing with a difficult situation (student, parent, colleague). "Hey Doug, you got a minute....." type of conversation. It involves listen, put the computer screen down, make eye contact, react facially appropriate, and then ponder for a minute. You have a question, ask it. You need them to repeat it, ask them too. You need clarification, go for it.
You have feedback? Because if you are an experienced leader, you have heard this type of scenario before, in some sort of scenario. The feedback is probably positive "They had a plan", but, will it derailed them in a way that is worth the feedback.
In other words, is the feedback that good it is worth making the teacher take a step back to take two steps forward.... You need to decide in less than 2 seconds, or you could defer to, "let me get back to you", but that type of feedback in this type of situation, is often lost. So you decide, but always affirm. It was a "good idea" regardless, because it was an idea. We want to promote ideas and never squash them. If feedback is needed fine, but if feedback is truly not going to improve the idea, keep it shut and just say something positive about the idea. Don't be that guy or girl. If it was a mistake, they will learn from the experience.
Commendation is the recognizing of a staff member for something they did. It can be in public or private, but should be done in both. It should not be "your the best" type. It should be thought out or in the moment. Thought out, is planned, I know you and therefore going to speak about you in a way that is positive to help you understand more fully how I have been feeling about you. In the moment is, "wow" you just really impressed me...! This one is simple, just make sure it's authentic and directed. If not don't do it, practice it with a trusted friend or in the mirror. Don't mess this one up as it is the easiest one.
Thankfulness is the catching of someone in doing something that you truly appreciate. It could be a normal event or something you asked them to do. It could be something that is above and beyond, or just doing the "daily" with consistency. These should be given out like "likes" in Facebook. Thanking someone is the easiest thing you can do beyond commending them. The difference is we often as leaders resort to "sorry" than "thank you". I asked you to cover a class should not be "sorry" you had to cover, but "thank you" for sacrificing for a colleague in need. "Thank You" for staying 10 minutes past contracted hours to help kids get on a bus or watching a child not yet picked up.
This is why this is harder than Commendation because we as leader assume the worst at times. We need to understand and constantly remind ourselves that "all educators" in schools are there because they care. It is never a job to any of us, it is a passion. So "thank you" for sacrificing, not "I am sorry" you had to sacrifice.
Confident Confirmation is where my train might go off the tracks. If you can not confirm your own existence as an educator, then you are not going to make it to retirement. You are going to do 5-7 like a minor drug bust and get out without parole. You will never be a "life sentence" without confident confirmation. You need to regularly "recognize" who you are as an educator. You need to look in the mirror, like actually look in the mirror, and say the following:
- Without you nothing happens in the world.
- You have a bigger influence in your life work than 100 CEO's, as you touch a minimum 750 souls.
- You are both loved and respected, as those that can don't and those that can't reach
- Everyone knows your profession as everyone has been in your space for many years.
- There is no better way to change the world than make a connection with a child.
Say those 5 things every day like a mantra, and you will not only be Affirmed, Commended, Thanked, but also build your Confident Confirmation that you need to be a "lifer".
This is the only profession where you want a "life sentence". I am guilty, I accept my "life sentence", but I also understand that I need time in the mirror to make sure I confirm my worth. I need a "thanks" and a "great job" here and there, but more than anything I need me.... I need me to tell me, this is the work I was made for. I was created for this... I have a mission to do this... There is no other reason I am here than this... Okay I went too far, but true educators get it, I hope!
I can always count on me as I can't run from me or get away from me, no matter how much I try!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!
Hope you made a connection with this..... I am not perfect or great in any of them beyond Confident Confirmation, and therefore work needs to be done!
This is page 29 and 30 of my manifesto... which was started a while ago. I just added a lot of words tonight. Thank you #cddolphins you are my inspiration!