Uniting School Administrators to Create a Better World

Communicating Your Purpose – A Lesson Learned

Hello amazing school administrators,

I wanted to share with you something that I learned recently that I think will be helpful.

We decided to put on this evening event at our school to raise money for our PTSA. We planned for weeks. Our PTSA, administration and our teachers spent hours preparing, promoting and getting ready for our big night.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous about what was going to happen. This was the first time we had put on an event of this size, and a lot of things could have gone wrong.

As it turned out, the event was a big success. The school was packed with families having fun and helping our PTSA raise money for our school.communicating-purpose-2

One of the few disappointments of the evening, however, was that a few teachers shared that our custodians were not as helpful as they could have been. Some teachers said that they even were complaining when they were asked to help out during the event.

When I heard this, I was initially a little upset. We all worked extra hard that night, and we all had reason to complain, but we didn’t.

Then I took a step back to reflect on this.

Why did we as administration and teachers give of our time and energy so willingly, and our custodial staff so grudgingly?

It all goes to one word: Purpose.

We were asking our custodians to work extra, above their normal evening duties. What we didn’t do, however, is involve them in our planning or explain to them how this event will benefit our school? What was their purpose? What was their “Why?”

Teachers knew their purpose. They knew how their efforts were going to ultimately benefit kids. When they began to get tired or sore, they kept going without complaining, because they knew their purpose.

Our custodians, as hard as they worked – and they worked hard that night, were not thinking about the kids or how the school would be benefitting from the event. They just saw more work. I kind of understand this. They didn’t have a purpose.

Teachers for the most part get into the profession because they want to make a difference. They want to have an impact on the world in some way. As part of administration, I try to remind teachers as often as I can of how important they are to the future of our society. I thank them for bringing a little extra sunshine into the lives of our kids. That’s my role – to remind teachers of their purpose, so they can continue to go above and beyond the call of duty every day.

Custodians, however, get into the profession for different reasons. I’m assuming this for most custodians, at least the ones who I have known. I’m sure that there are some custodians who chose the profession to make a difference in the world.

So, I really can’t blame my custodians for not being so willing to help out at our big event. It was a lot of work. It was really double the work for them.

Here’s what I learned from all this.

  1. I need to get more custodians to help out on big events like this.
  2. I need to involve the custodians more in the planning process.
  3. I need to do my best to remind the custodians how their efforts have a greater purpose.

Although I considered it a great success, there were a lot of lessons that came out of our big event. We will make quite a few modifications to our plan before next year.

For me, my biggest take away was how important it is to make our purpose a priority in our communication with ALL those involved in the event.

I predicted that this event was going to be a learning experience… and it was.

Thank you for all you do for our kids.

Until next time, here’s to our journey toward School Administration Mastery.

Thanks,

Sam

TheSchoolAdministrator.com

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