Schools can try many different programs aimed at improving the education and behavior of students, but few of these programs will succeed without the secret ingredients. Peet Junior High is a school that knows what these secret ingredients are, and most, if not all, the administrators, faculty, and staff add these ingredients every day.
My son Cade (a pseudonym) has just started his third and last year at Peet Junior High, and over the years, I have had multiple occasions to have contact with the school faculty and staff through picking Cade up from programs, attending conferences, emailing teachers, and talking to teachers and staff on the phone. Most of the contact has just been routine kinds of things that all parents do when they have a child in school; however, my professional and personal background and experiences have given me a level of discernment that many parents don't possess.
I was previously a public school teacher for 14 years and now as a teacher-educator, I have the responsibility to visit multiple schools in which my teacher candidates are doing their field experiences. On the parent level, Cade is the youngest of my three children, so having children in school is not a new experience for me. Unfortunately, my children along with myself as a parent have experienced some horrible experiences with faculty and staff at schools. I have also observed some terrible behaviors from faculty and staff in schools in my role as a teacher- educator, but it's through these unfortunate events that makes it possible for me to know when things are different.
Based on my background with schools, I have observed that the faculty and staff at Peet Junior High share some common personal qualities in their demeanors among each other that stand out from other schools-things are different. It's these behavior qualities that are its secret ingredients that make it a very successful school. Schools can implement many published, common school programs aimed at accomplishing student success, however, without the practice of the behavior qualities of the faculty and staff described in the next sections of this article, they are doomed to fail.
At Peet Junior High, every faculty member and every staff member, practices warm friendliness towards students as well as parents. They demonstrate this behavior and attitude by looking at parents and students in their eyes with a smile and a friendly sounding voice whenever they see them. This holds true for not only most of the teachers and administrators, but also for most of the staff including the school counselors, secretaries, aides, and custodians.
Enthusiasm and a Positive Attitude
Faculty, staff, and administrators at Peet Junior High practice genuine enthusiasm and a positive attitude towards students and parents. These behavior qualities can be seen in their faces as well as heard in their voices. They speak about students in positive ways, always looking for ways to help and encourage students. Middle school students can sometimes feel very negative about their lives. The smallest setback can ruin their whole day if they let it. The positive attitude and enthusiasm practiced at Peet Junior High tends to override the otherwise negativity that could prevail if allowed.
Respect for Students and Parents
At Peet Junior High, the employees demonstrate respect for students and parents. As soon as they see students or parents, they foster a connection with them through gestures of greeting shown through courteous acknowledgement of them. This is demonstrated through simple greetings, by asking them if they could help them, or making small conversation. Through these courtesies, the administrators, faculty, and staff are showing genuine regard and acceptance towards students and parents. They are giving the message that they hold them in high esteem, and they have a sense of worth for them.
A service perspective is practiced at Peet Junior High by all the employees. This attitude is displayed by responding to parents' emails and phone calls in a timely manner. It is shown by talking to parents over the phone with the conduct and tone of voice that reflects their personal position of "how can I help you?" The employees at Peet Junior High consistently make evident that they hold the opinion that their role is to assist students and parents however they can in their role as public school employees.
Responsible for Students
The administrators, faculty, counselors, and staff at Peet Junior High practice the attitude and perspective that they are responsible for every student. They behave in much the same way parents behave towards their children. They not only take on the role of making sure each student is succeeding academically, but they also make every effort to insure each students' emotional needs are being addressed as well. They keep a close watch on each student and try their best not to allow any student to fall behind without getting help from the teacher or counselor.
Genuine Caring Disposition
In conclusion, the employees at Peet Junior High hold a genuine caring disposition towards students and parents. Through their positive behavior qualities, they show students and parents that they care about them even during the tough times. All students are different, some struggle more than others, but the administrators, faculty, and staff at Peet Junior High go out of their way to do everything they can to help each student succeed both academically and socially to the best of his or her abilities. They see the potential in students who struggle rather than the failures, and they maintain the attitude that students can change their behavior given the right circumstances. They never stop trying to find what will work to help students.
I would like to express my gratitude to all the administrators, faculty, counselors, and staff at Peet Junior High for all they have done to insure my son's growth and success. It's because of you that he has become the confident young man he is today.
Copyright © 2017 Timothy G. Weih, Ph.D.
University of Northern Iowa, USA
About Author / Additional Info:
Timothy G. Weih is an associate professor of education at the University of Northern Iowa, USA, and teaches elementary teaching methods courses.