7 New Year’s Resolutions for Principals

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be about joining a gym or eating healthier. Try out these 7 strategies to help you build better relationships with your students in 2019.

A new calendar year brings a chance for a fresh start. When the school year begins, you’ve got a lot to juggle. Even when you’re at your busiest, your students remain the top priority. But sometimes you’re pulled in many directions, making it harder to spend as much time with your students as you’d like.

With a new year comes new opportunity to make some changes. And that doesn’t always mean resolving to join a gym or eat healthier. When you head back to school after winter break, try out these seven New Year’s resolutions to get you back in the swing of building relationships and bonding with your students.

1. Greet students at the door. Children who are recognized feel like they belong, and when they know they belong, they become more productive. They take more of an interest in their schooling, which can lead to success in school and outside of it.

2. Call your students by their names. Hearing someone say your name has a lot of benefits. It lets the students know they’re important to you, and it strengthens your connection. Often a child hears his or her name when they’ve done something wrong, so hearing their name in a positive context can do a lot for their self-esteem.

3. Focus on the positive. You’ve heard of the #GoodNewsCallOfTheDay, right? (If not, check out that hashtag on Twitter.) Basically, you work with your teachers to be on the lookout for students who go above and beyond to do something nice. Then, you bring that student into your office, call his or her parent or guardian to tell them about the good deed, let your student chat for a minute with the parent or guardian, and then (if the parent or guardian allows) take a selfie with the student and post it on Twitter using #GoodNewsCallOfTheDay. Can’t make it work every day? Commit to a Good News Call (or Two) of the Week.

4. Participate in library time. When students are in the library checking out books, it’s a great opportunity for you to pop in to see what their interests are. Talk to your students about why they chose a particular book—using your inside voice, of course.

5. Learn something new alongside your students. Learn a song your students are studying in music class, grab an apron and paint a picture with them in art class, or put on your sneakers and get some exercise with some fourth-graders in gym class.

6. Eat with your students. Principals are busy people, but they have to eat, right? Why not do it in the school cafeteria among the organized chaos that is school lunch period? Try it once a week, and alternate grade levels each time. Maybe follow up with a student you met with in the library to ask him how he liked the book he chose.

7. Help with bus duty. As important as it is to welcome students into the school, it’s equally as important to send them off at the end of the day on a positive note. If you’re not manning a walkie-talkie, take a few minutes to chat with students as they board their buses. A simple “Hope you had a great day!” or “I’ll see you tomorrow!” goes a long way.

What New Year’s resolutions do you have planned as you head back to your school after winter break? Use #PrincipalResolutions on social media to add yours to the list.

Krysia Gabenski is the digital communication associate at NAESP.

Copyright © 2018. National Association of Elementary School Principals. No part of the articles in NAESP magazines, newsletters, or website may be reproduced in any medium without the permission of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. For more information, view NAESP’s reprint policy.