Yesterday, I attended EdcampExit8A in New Jersey and had the opportunity to participate in a very important discussion on school climate. The conversation focused on the importance of establishing a positive school climate, how a negative culture impacts a school, and how sometimes, there are misconceptions surrounding school climate and culture amongst different stakeholders.
While talking about expectations around climate for students and teachers, someone also brought up the idea of the status of adult relationships in a building, and the following question was asked:
What are our expectations for each other?
I realized yesterday that this is an extremely important question. While we model for students what we would like to see from them, we probably don’t pay enough attention to our own relationships with each other as adults. One of the suggestions in the room was the idea of answering this important question at a staff meeting.
The sign of a good question is when it leads to other questions.
What do we as adults, expect from each other?
How should we treat each other?
What do we expect from a leader?
What should a leader expect from her or his colleagues?
What happens when someone is not meeting the shared expectations?
All of these become extremely important questions that need to be answered in order to create a positive climate and culture.
As the school year is set to begin, I would encourage all of you to engage in a discussion about expectations. Don’t just think about our expectations for students, but also consider our expectations for each other.