Yajaira I. Martinez
Bluffdale and Terra Linda Elementary
West Jordan, Utah
1) A best practice I have as an administrator is being able to continue learning. Education is always changing; new resources and research is always coming out. I believe that we are to constantly learn and continue to grow. We all have room for growth, this is what makes us humans. Being able to continue being students, reflect and continue to build on our skills is essential for student growth. I constantly reflect, and look for opportunities to learn from either my mistakes or past failures. Professional development is always a part of education, I believe I am always willing to learn new ideas, skills, and gain knowledge is something that will always help me continue to grow and improve in my work. Learning can bring can open the doors to new skills and talents and can bring new ideas of how to do things. Children are so intelligent and learn extremely fast, their knowledge with technology is constantly growing and we as adults need to continue our learning to keep up and make education relatable to what they are interested in learning. We only grow when we challenge ourselves, this is the beauty of learning, we might struggle at first but with constant practice and being open to apply our new learning in our day to day work will make us stronger in our practice. The best part is when we can learn from each other, using each other to grow not only helps us individually but makes for a better working environment that involves trust and healthy working relationships. Every time I think about having to learn something has resulted in a gain. I have either gotten better at something or learned a new skill, and have a new goal in mind. I also believe that constantly being open to new learning keeps me going in whatever direction or goal I have in mind. As a classroom teacher I was constantly reflecting on my practice and trying to learn or find new ways to better my instruction. I would not only learn from professional development I would get from my administrator or district, but I would also constantly learn from my students and their needs. I can honestly say I am always looking for feedback, I want to know what’s working and what I need to improve in. This is a practice I have always put in place not only through my years in education but also in my personal life. I have only gotten better in some areas and have improved because I was open to reflect and learn from others. Education is what has helped me in my life and learning is such an amazing tool we have; it can make such a difference when you take what you have learned and put it to use. Overall, if our own students see that even us as adults are constantly learning and growing, we will only encourage them to do the same. If they see us working together as teams, they will also do the same.
2) Another best practice I believe I have worked hard to have is building relationships. Being able to build relationships to me, is extremely important. I have been told that I have a very approachable personality and make people feel appreciated. Teachers have expressed that they know I am there to help them and feel supported by me. I have had parents tell me that they feel supported and appreciated. I have always said that as an administrator I want my teachers, students and parents to know I care. I want them to feel welcome when they walk into my school. Being able to move forward as a school requires a team of people you can trust and depend on. My goal is to be able to lead a school and be an example of a good citizen to my student’s ad peers. I always try to look for the good in people and their strengths. I believe building relationships with students is an important practice, and can make such a difference in student performance and desire to learn. Over the years I have seen what a difference it makes when you have someone you can trust, work well with and support each other. As a teacher, I felt most capable and successful when I had good relationships with my team. I enjoyed going to work, I knew I could count on them and most importantly I knew we all shared the same goal to help all of our students succeed. I have learned the most from my peers. Now that I am an administrator, I also see what a difference building relationship can have as a school and for our students. I have learned that in order to accomplish any goal we have as a school we first need to build relationships with the ones we work with, but also those in our community. Professional learning communities are a big part of education now, and I have been fortunate to sit on many PLC’s throughout the years, some of those as a teacher and some of those as the administrator. Honestly, I have to say that in both situations I have learned that the most effective and rewarding ones have been in those that teachers have built solid relationships and share common goals. Unfortunately, without relationships it is almost impossible to work as a team and head in the right direction. We can have all the tools we need but if the culture of positive relationships is not there, improvement will be slow or impossible. Taking on a new role, or tackling a new goal as a school is so much easier when you have a solid team. Building relationships is a practice that I not only work on because I feel is the right way to treat people, but I also work hard on making it a priority because I know the impact it can have in all the other places. Overall, I practice building relationships daily whether is with a quick smile, greeting someone or hearing someone out, because I know what an impact it can make.