Friday, February 10, 2012

A Strange Thank You

A Strange Thank You

Today I got a thank you card. Not usually a big deal but this one was different.  Strange because it was presented to me by an ex-employee.  

The teacher had screwed up.  Not just a little screw up but the ruin your reputation and career kind of screw up. We met because her mistake became an employee relations issue.  In my office we reviewed the details of her actions, discussed the ramifications, and talked about options.  In the end she decided to resign.  She made the right decision.  There was really no way for her to survive.

She called a couple of weeks later and asked if I could help her retrieve her files from the network drive.  I took about an hour, went through the files, redacted confidential material, and copied them on to a thumb drive.  To her the files represented years of professional work and effort.  The files represented the good times.  

After picking up the drive she handed me an envelop containing a hand-written thank you card.  With nothing but sincerity she thanked  me for helping her.  The exchange reminded me of some basic life principles that we as edleaders sometimes forget.

- Always treat people with dignity even when they screw-up royally.

- Never let some one's actions define them, no matter how stupid.

- Respect.  Don’t chastise or belittle.  By the time a teacher gets to you office in a bad situation    they often know what’s coming.  Stick to the facts.

- Above all else keep the students first.  If a teacher does something stupid and can be saved - save them.  If saving the teacher will hurt kids then he or she has to go.

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