TCEA 20 for 2020: Day Furrrr - Gerry Brooks
Updated: Feb 25
If you saw the title of today's blog entry and realized that "Furrrr" is not a typo, then you already know who Gerry Brooks is. If you didn't understand it, you're missing out. Gerry Brooks, the closing keynote speaker at the TCEA 2020 Convention, is an elementary school principal from Kentucky who has become an internet sensation for his hilarious takes on real-world problems teachers face daily. His over the top Southern drawl adds an extra layer of humor to his insightful take on education. Here's a quick example:
During his closing keynote, Mr. Brooks (and by the way, his first name is pronounced "Gary") interwove his funny videos with a very powerful message about educators' roles in helping promote a positive culture in schools. Our elementary computer applications teacher, Mrs. Michelle Schiebel, share her bulleted notes with me and has allowed me to share them with you here.
Know your gifts. Ask yourself, "What do I do really well and how can I use these gifts to help promote a positive culture in my school?"
Don't be afraid to walk away from negativity. You don't have time for it!
What you wear at school is extremely important. He surprise us with this one. We all thought he was going to talk about dress code. Instead, he urged us to join in with what's happening on campus. Participate in dress up days!
Rely on those around you who understand you!
Inside jokes create comradery. Not mean ones though - fun jokes that draw you together.
Popularity is NOT your goal. Respect should be your goal. If you make every decision for students, respect will follow.
Don't wait for others to make changes to your environment. Just do it!
Climate and culture includes parents!
Know when parents are upset, it almost always boils down to what they want for their kids - happiness and safety. Realize it's the same thing you want for their kids. If they're upset, listen first and respond second. Listen to what they are saying - not how they are saying it.
At the end of every parent conference, ask yourself, "Did this conversation strengthen my relationship with this parent?" And, remember you are never talking to one parent - word gets around.
When dealing with students, remember to listen first and respond second. Know that belittling and yelling are completely unacceptable. Ask yourself how you would want your own child treated and give each students a fresh start every day.
Know that climate and culture involves coworkers. Accept people's personalities. You can't change others. You can change yourself. Always be professional and respectful. Always support publicly. And when you have concerns with others, talk to them directly and privately.
I can't thank Michelle enough for her great notes!
If you want a bonus treat, TCEA has just released their latest podcast episode with a behind the scenes interview with Gerry Brooks. It's a fantastic interview. You can take a listen HERE.
Image of Mr. Brooks from https://www.gerrybrooksprin.com/bio.