Who Fills The Boss’s Bucket?

Being an administrator can be a very lonely place, even though they seem to always be surrounded by people.

Often, in many schools, there are very few administrators; some may feel isolated, and at times, overwhelmed. It’s a BIG job to be an instructional leader, who also serves as a building manager, and the person tasked with creating and upholding a school culture where every person feels a strong sense of belonging and wants to be there. Quite frankly, it’s monumental, but so worth it! But it begs the question, Who’s filling the administrators bucket? As we enter the end-of -the year mayhem, keep in mind that administrators need a little TLC too!

Staff members, pay attention!  The bucket of administrators needs to be refilled or risk, even the best leaders, feeling empty.  Here are some ways that you can show your appreciation to the members of your school administration, even if they don’t ask for it:


Let them know when they are doing a great job with an initiative, project or handling difficult situations. Not everything goes well and you may be asked to give honest feedback. Make sure  to use diplomacy and respect all the while, looking for a resolution or improvement.

Invite Them In

Invite them to see/participate in  the cool things happening in your class. Try team teaching together; it lets them feel that enthusiasm and energy of teaching once again. Let them be part of the magic with students.

Be an Ear

Let your bosses know that your door is always open to them to discuss an idea, initiatives or just small talk. They are human too. Often, leaders want to run ideas by their best people so let them know you’re available and if they take you up on your offer – that’s a huge compliment.

Give Them the Benefit of the Doubt

Most decisions that are made are based upon numerous factors – always with the best interest of the students, staff and school in mind. If you are unsure or unhappy with something that transpired, ask for clarification; it will likely make more sense after you have all of the information.

Keep an Open Mind

Change is inevitable. Support the initiatives of the school and administrators to the best of your ability.You may not agree with all of them (they probably don’t either) but you’ll achieve more success together than separately.

Respect Their Time

“If I can just have a moment of your time,” is a phrase that is repeated hundreds of times a week–and although administrators have to be aware of so many things, and face-to-face communication is preferred, sometimes it is impossible. Drop an email with as much information as necessary to keep them in the loop or solicit a response. Let them know plainly what it is that you need from them.

Share Your Good News

School leaders want to share in your joy and achievements in your role as an educator. After all, we are all in this together.

Say Something Nice

We live in a fishbowl with social media. Be conscientious of venting about your boss in public or on public forums. You know that old saying “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. Even thought it might feel good in the moment, venting about a work problem publicly can hurt your boss’s feelings and hurt the culture of the community. 

Protect Your Quarterback

This football phrase is used to be aware of the blind side. Administrators may not be aware of EVERYTHING, so give them a heads up on important information and keep them in the loop; don’t let them get blindsided with things that could be avoided if they had pertinent information.

Thank You Notes

Drop your bosses a thank you note for the little things that they do for you–even if it’s part of their job. Words of gratitude go a long way!

Be Supportive

Say yes when you can and volunteer to assist and lead things that are for the greater good in your school. It goes a long way–and it make the heavy lifting a whole lot easier for school leaders and colleagues.

Celebrate Them!

There seems to be a declared day for everyone. Mark your calendars for bosses day, AP Appreciation Week, Principal’s Week, etc. and plan something special to show your appreciation.

Be a Team Player

The line between administrator and staff is growing fainter as the roles of educators evolve. Teachers should be leaders, administrators should be coaches. We are all on the same team – with the same vision. Let’s create school of excellence together!

Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well”

– Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire

Paul J. Berardelli is a the proud  principal of Delsea Regional High School. Paul has challenged himself to be a true educational leader by inspiring his staff and students to excel. More recently, Paul has been featured in ASCD Journal for his article “Road Tested / Getting Up to Speed with Speed PD” and “Why Every Administrator Should Team Teach” and “Our teachers Deserve More Praise” ,and numerous blogposts  in ASCD Inservice. You can follow Paul on Twitter @PaulBerardelli

Michele Hill is a passionate educator in her 25th year of teaching–students first, curriculum second. Throughout her career as an educator, Michele has been a champion for struggling and impoverished students. Michele has been a guest blogger for ASCD Inservice, McGraw Hill, Principal Leadership, Teacher Tool Kit UK, Edweek and ASCD Road Tested. Michele is the producer of DisruptEdTV School Spotlight. You can follow Michele on Twitter @HillMrispo or visit her blog: spiritededucator.blogspot.com

This article is part of a monthly series from Michele Hill and Paul Berardelli where they share their advice and expertise as a classroom teacher and school administrator who demonstrate the importance of working together to help create a school culture of excellence. You can read more from them by clicking on the ‘Dynamic Synergy’ tag or by clicking here.