As I was walking down the hallway one morning, I heard a student yell from a classroom, “Hey Marotta!”
I began to turn around, and as I did I heard the teacher say to the young man, “shush, he’s very busy, he doesn’t have time to talk to you.” I immediately finished turning around and ducked my head into the classroom. I had a quick conversation with the young man who then challenged me to an athletic contest in the gym later that afternoon. I agreed, and when I left the room he had a big smile on his face and was very enthused.
I reflected on that small interaction, and while I thought it was nice that the teacher was trying to protect my time, I always feel it’s important to have time for students. A “Hall of Fame” teacher from Port Jervis High School always told me that it was a good thing when kids yelled your name, even if it was just your last name. He told me that this is one of the best compliments a student can give you because if they really disliked you or did not respect you, they wouldn’t say anything at all or call you something else. I’ve carried that with me for years, and always tried to acknowledge the kids and make time for them even if I was hustling to a classroom or a meeting. (I always like to leave a few minutes early so I have some buffer to be able to spend time with kids, have conversations, and respond to small interactions like when a kid yells “Hey Marotta” and challenges me to a game in the gym.)
Our time is valuable, however, the personal interactions and relationships with those we work with, especially students are most valuable. While there’s a lot of work to do as a high school principal, I don’t ever want people to think that I don’t have time for them. I do budget my time very carefully, but when a kid or staff member yells “Hey Marotta,” I want to always make sure I have time for my people. #MakeTheImportantThingTheImportantThing
Make sure you are making time for the important things in your life! #KeepRolling
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