You’ve been planning all summer for the next school year. Developing duty rosters, setting instructional schedules, getting everything ready.
The most important thing as the principal you will do for the new year is set the tone. You’ll do that even before the teachers return. The communications you send them will either get them excited about the work ahead or drop them into a pre-year rut even before things begin. The most effective principals are always building an air of excitement about the work of teaching students. Your summer communications are a big part of that.
Once the summer is over and the teachers return, how do you want to receive them back at the school? What will you do on your first day? Will it make them want to come back for the second day?!?
On the first day for students, each teacher sets the tone for the year. This day has much to do with the attitude that students will have about that teacher and that class. You can’t overstate the importance of a good start.
The same is true for principals. You can get your teachers off to a positive, focused, and purposeful beginning with a great first day for teachers. That first day for teachers is, without question, your most important day of the year in setting the attitude and focus for the school. I share with new principals with whom I work that you should “capture their imagination, establish a focus, and set a positive feeling” on the first day teachers are there.
What does that look like? It isn’t reading through the faculty handbook, going over test scores, or doing logistics. Your time with the faculty should be brief, positive, upbeat, full of conversations, stories, and ending with one thing you want them to think about for the day, and perhaps for the year. If it is in the form of a question, it is even more powerful.
That “one thing” differs from school to school, but as we put the Fourth of July (and summer) in our rearview, your focus as the principal should be, what is the one thing I want my teachers thinking about after their first day?
If you can get to that, then it will be easy to plan your first day with the teachers. Make it a great one!