Last time on the Music Ed Mentor podcast, Bruce Rockwell and I discussed some ways to improve your relationship with your administration. This is one of the most important aspects of your career, but one that many educators don’t know how to improve. Studies on teacher burnout routinely show that many music teachers don’t feel supported by their administrators.
Break this cycle and make your relationship with your administrator a two-way street! I promise you that you can nurture and improve that relationship (even if you think your administrator is beyond saving).
In this episode of the podcast, Bruce and I discuss our top five ways to make your administrators love you. Some of these tips are more easily said than done, but putting them in action this school year will serve you (and your program) well for years to come.
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In This Episode, You’ll Learn How To:
- Avoid conflicts with your administration.
- Position yourself as the authority on music and music education at your school.
- Maintain data on your program in a way administrators can relate to.
Bruce and I have teamed up to put our research and tips into a handy checklist. While this episode focuses on the second half of the list, you can listen to the first five in our last episode, and download the full list here.
Three Key Takeaways
“Stay away from things that cost you money when you’re raising money.”
As Bruce puts it in the episode, grant writing takes no “human capital.” Students and parents don’t have to spend one minute on it, but you can often end up with more funds than if you’d done a more traditional fundraiser (where students sell things). You’d be surprised at how many grants are available and how easy it can be to apply. Grant writing is something I think everyone needs to know how to do – check out my grant writing tools for more info.
“When your students and ensembles are super successful, share it!”
Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn from time to time. Forward notes, emails, and positive comments from parents, students, and community members to your administration. You are the authority on music at your school, and standing up for your program goes a long way. When you forward these types of things, you’re educating administrators about the benefits of their school’s music program. Better yet, if the person who hired you is in the administration, you’re essentially saying “you were so smart to hire me!”
“Keep data at the forefront of your mind so you can answer questions whenever they are posed to you.”
Data is incredibly important. You can even build a “State of the Choir” (or band, or orchestra) document at the beginning of the year to share with parents, booster programs, and administrators. Being transparent – and showing that you know exactly where your program stands – is another way to demonstrate your professionalism and authority. Of course, all this data also illustrates the program’s value to administrators. Data points to consider include budget information, equipment inventory, and enrollment numbers.