I would like to preface my answer to this question by telling you that I am very lucky to work in an elementary school at which my comments are observed every day and are actually part of the "air we breathe." Thus, my inspiration for my job and for this blog comes from my fabulous colleagues. Administrators need the following from teachers...

WhateverittakesCommitment To:

  • The hard work of the teaching field.
  • Doing WHATEVER it takes so that EVERY student meets or exceeds learning standards and achieves at high levels. 
  • Developing a relationship with every student so that the student believes the teacher truly cares, believes in his/her ability to achieve, and works tirelessly to support his/her learning. 
  • Being a "student" of teaching - working each day to strengthen teaching skills and implement new strategies.
  • Collaboration with colleagues, students, parents, and the school community.
  • Using formative and summative assessments to monitor student achievement and inform our practice.
  • A constant focus on growth and results.

Communication By: 

  • Reading, understanding, and following district and building policies and procedures.
  • Frequent communication with parents, that includes updates regarding curriculum, classroom procedures, and their child's progress.
  • Keeping administration in the loop so that there is shared knowledge as issues arise.
  • Maintaining building protocols for how we communicate with each other.
  • Sharing successful - and unsuccessful - practices so that all can learn together.
  • Maintaining trust and confidentiality.

Balance In:

  • Curriculum priorities.
  • Personal life and work life.
  • Focus on student results.
  • Keeping it all in perspective.
  • Using humor to mamage the stress of our work.

Attitude That:

  • Holds students at the core of all we do.
  • Positively faces the many challenges in education today.
  • Is fun-loving - while we work hard we also need to know how to have fun together.
  • Understands that administrators, too, are being challenged and stretched in their jobs and, just like every teacher, the administrator is doing his/her best every day with the knowledge and skills available.


  • By asking questions, not accepting the status quo, while also offering suggestions for change.
  • Each other to strengthen the CORE of our instruction.
  • Kids to set goals, monitor their own progress, and work to achieve those goals.
  • To not "admire the problem," rather to find ways to solve it.

In today's world of education, it is critical that administrators and teachers work together to manage the constant pressures that come when we are focused on raising the achievement of every student. Much of our work is centered on philosophical and programmatic change, which naturally equates to added stress. At our school, we are working collaboratively to review best practice, monitor student achievement through assessment, analyze achievement data, and implement instructional practices and strategies to impact student achievement and close the achievement gaps. However, by working together we can make a huge difference in the lives of our students! I wouldn't be in this job if I didn't love the students and those who teach and support them!

Linda Perdaems is in her 20th year as an elementary school principal at Woodland Elementary School in the Osseo Area School System. Her school is located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Woodland currently has 1,030 preschool through sixth grade students.

Image credit: Whatever it takes!