Trust is a silly small word, that is not often used in education. As an administrator I give a lot of trust to all my staff every day. They are single entities within their own classroom and no matter how many miles I tally in a day, I can not be everywhere at once.
The term is used, "In God We Trust" on my $20 dollar bill. So if a word is worthy of making the $20, is it not important enough to talk about in life/education? Do you trust me to make the best decisions as I know? Do you trust me to have your back when times are bad? Do you trust me to support you when things don't work? Do you trust me to know that I think you come to work every day to make a difference?
So in everything in life our experiences shape who we are. The next 4 paragraphs give context as to why TRUST is so important to me and then back to why it matters in my work.
For me, the idea of trust started a long time ago, way before I got in education. That word in itself, has so much meaning to me, and I protect it. My parents got divorced when I was 4 years old. I lived in a split household, both of them loving, but split, with neither side ever wanting to talk to each other. It was not a "happy" split for reasons that are not important here. It was me and my older brother who has down syndrome. I trusted him with all my thoughts, he was the ultimate listener and brother. I talked, and talked, and talked. He listened...
Then I got older and my mom started telling me things, and my dad told me things, and then other people told me things about being a kid with divorced parents. I learned that all sorts of people have ideas and opinions and they wanted to share them with me. They wanted to influence me and try to help.
Then I made repeated horrible mistakes, I started sharing inner thoughts and ideas with others. Nothing outlandish or criminal, but stuff that if repeated to a broader audience would definitely make me feel a certain way. Then it happened, over and over.... I was a talker, trained by my brother, but others did not just listen, they repeated... I got mad and reacted, not maturely and regretfully bad decisions were made and bad things happened.
I realized that although I am a talker (working on this) I also am able to be trusted with others thoughts about their ideas. Why is this important in education? Why is trust in people being open with ideas the single most important quality of a leader?
If people don't feel they can share openly with their ideas, and not feel as if they are squashed or diminished before they ever try, then relationships will never be formed, and innovation will never happen. The most important thing you can do as a leader is trust your staff. With trust comes the ability to challenge them, give feedback, laugh, and everything in between. TRUST ME, your teachers do want to do the best they can, they need guidance, vision, help, support, feedback, etc. But they come to work to make a difference, trust that!