When I first pondered on this question, I could not help but think about which came first: the chicken or the egg? After really thinking about it, I realized the question was not that hard...RELATIONSHIPS! If you don't have relationships, how can you establish a culture? As stated earlier, relationships with students are often discussed in the school setting by teachers and administrators; but how are educators building relationships with one another (teacher and teacher, administrator and teacher, administrator and administrator)? Not saying you have to befriend everyone you work with or be unprofessional; however it is important to note that the people you work with, regardless of outgoing they are, introverted, self-motivated, down right mean, or even weird, that they are still HUMAN!
As educators, it is going to take all of us to get to learn and know the people in our buildings. It means we are going to have to go one by one, introduce ourselves, and learn one another (it is amazing how many educators do not know anything about their coworkers). Are you probably going to get along with everybody...probably not! But just getting to know people helps make a difference. But also when I say a relationship, let's be clear...a GREAT relationship where each person is benefiting. When a relationship has been established, culture will begin to take form. People may start to share your vision and you may begin to share theirs. As educators we want so much of our students, but are we not willing to go the extra mile and be practitioners of what we preach?
When we build those relationships and the culture is establish, imagine how empowered and transformed the staff members will be! Imagine how motivated they will be! Imagine how they will be willing to go above and beyond for their school! Imagine how they will be willing to learn! Imagine how stronger they will be in the classroom! Imagine how eager they will be to make a difference in a child's life!
I heard someone say earlier, we must engaged the heart of the learner. I told them, I was going to take that a step further, we must ENGAGE THE HEART OF THE PERSON! That's the key to relationships!