Music Ed Mentor Podcast #005: 10 Ways to Make Your Administrator Love You

Music Ed Mentor Podcast #005: 10 Ways to Make Your Administrator Love You

In a recent poll, only 50% of music teachers responded that they feel supported by their administration. But relationships are always two-way streets. As educators, we can (and should) take the initiative to improve, nurture, and maintain great relationships with our administrators.

I promise you, it can be done, even if you’re convinced that your principal is the most frustrating administrator of all time.

In this episode of the podcast, I talk at length with Bruce Rockwell. Bruce is a great composer and choir director, and he and I recently spent a lot of time researching the teacher-administrator relationship. We’ve come up with the ten most important things you can do to make your administrator love you.

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In This Episode, You’ll Learn How To:

  • Better represent your school and improve the relationship between your campus and your community.
  • Stay positive, no matter what.
  • Think like an administrator and put yourself in their shoes.
  • Avoid burnout by working with your administration, not against them.

Free Checklist

Bruce and I have teamed up to put our research and tips into a handy checklist. Even though we’re focusing on the first five items in today’s episode, the checklist has all ten! We’ll go over the other five in the next podcast.  

Download the free checklist!

Three Key Takeaways

“The bottom line is we can’t change them… so we’ve really got to focus in on how can we, as music teachers, make the changes necessary to shift that support.”

This is really the basis of the whole episode. We can’t control other people, only our own actions. The good news is that we can build programs that are “magnets for support” – music programs that an administrator can’t help but support. As Bruce puts it, “the days are gone where we can just have a ‘good’ program.”

“Even if they’re one of those administrators that ‘doesn’t get it,’ I thank them for their help.”

Making administrators feel special and showing your appreciation is a win-win. First of all, administrators help your program behind the scenes in ways you may never know about. Second, making sure that administrators know you appreciate their work – even if they don’t do much – makes them more likely to continue that work in the future. Everything and anything administrators do on behalf of your program is valuable. Say thank you!

“We aren’t going to do well by forcing students to choose between sports and the music they love and want to play.”

Don’t play the “versus” game. Your relationships with colleagues and administrators (and, for that matter, parents, and students) will improve when you create balanced, reasonable expectations. Avoid making students choose between activities – forcing a choice invites unnecessary conflict and undermines your reputation as a team player. Being understanding of conflicts and supportive of students who participate in multiple activities shows administrators how valuable you are.


EDITORS NOTE: You can now enjoy part two of this post, too.

Elisa Janson Jones specializes in helping music educators build, grow, and manage thriving school music programs. With an MBA alongside her degree in music, she is also a coach and consultant to small businesses and nonprofits around the country, and serves as the conductor of her local community band. She has been teaching music for nearly 20 years and currently holds the prestigious position of elementary music teacher at a private K-8 Catholic School in Grand Junction, Colorado. Elisa was a top presenter at the NAfME National Conference in 2017 and will be presenting at state conferences in 2018. She is the founder of the International Music Education Summit and the author of The Music Educator’s Guide to Thrive.

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