Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Lifelong Learner & Reflective Practitioner

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities

Let's Transform Our Schools Into TRUE Professional Learning Communities
In Your School- Do all stakeholders subscribe to the belief that EVERYONE has something to learn and EVERYONE has something to teach? This blog can help you gain insight on how to facilitate this transformative mindset with your faculty!

Feb 21, 2012

The Power of Handwritten Notes: Avenue for Encouraging Teachers or Liability Disaster?

Being in the midst of a budget crisis and facing the possibility of a serious workforce reduction and school closings has made the morale at my school pretty low lately so I decided to write my teachers some personalized notes of encouragement this week. Among school administrators, there is a long-standing set of opposing opinions about writing teachers notes. I have lots of friends who are school administrators and I know people who subscribe to each of these camps:

CAMP #1- Writing teachers personal notes of encouragement will make teachers feel appreciated and thus strenghthen the teacher/principal relationship. Furthermore, it will encourage the teacher to strive to continually improve his/her performance.

CAMP #2- Writing teachers personal notes opens you up for possible grievances. As all school leaders know, at any time a teacher's performance can change. If you work in a school district with a strong union, positive notes have the potential to come back and bite you in the butt.

What's your stance? I really want to know how other principals feel about this.

I definitely belong to the group of administrators who believe that writing personalized positive notes is worth the risk. I don't do it as often as I should, but I definitely do it when I can. I think it's really important for the notes to be hand-written and have comments specific to that teacher's performance. I recently heard that people are much more likely to read the full contents of a hand-written note than an email. Now, don't get me wrong, I do occasionally shoot teachers a quick email to tell them that I like their bulletin board or thanks for coming to PTA the night before. But....When I want to really recognize some serious work or a major contribution by a teacher, I always use a hand-written note.


I would really like for some principals to share their experiences about writing personalized notes.