Shalonda Neeley Gutierrez
Connelly Middle School
New York City, NY

In the realm of education, the pursuit for improvement can often lead to overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, especially when bombarded with a plethora of advice and suggestions. This sentiment is explored in a recent Cult of Pedagogy article summary by Jennifer Gonzalez, "Your Teachers Need a Win”, whose insights extend beyond the realm of teachers to touch the core of leadership roles. I believe this article resonates closely with our commitment to fostering a positive and growth-oriented educational culture.

Jennifer's article resonates with the universal struggle of balancing professional responsibilities and the constant pressure to "do more." The overarching theme revolves around the critical need for recognition and encouragement in both teachers and administrators. The absence of praise coupled with criticism can create a demoralizing atmosphere, while targeted and specific praise, even in challenging situations, has the power to instill confidence and motivation.

The essence of Jennifer's message lies in the importance of acknowledging the efforts of educators and leaders alike. Her solution for school leaders evaluating teachers goes beyond the classroom, urging administrators to actively engage, provide positive feedback, and focus on areas where teachers excel. This approach, rooted in appreciation, is not only applicable to educational settings but can be embraced in a broader context that can enhance our lives through God.

As an advocate for fostering a culture of appreciation and support, I am committed to Jennifer's suggested actions. This commitment involves cultivating relationships with all community members, expressing enthusiasm and interest, delivering clear and captivating explanations, equipping students with tools for self-directed learning, and rallying every staff member to ensure seamless classroom and school-wide management. These efforts showcase the embodiment of our Foundress, Cornelia Connelly’s, motto, “Actions Not Words”.

Jennifer's advice is a call to action, prompting us to break the cycle of negativity by actively seeking the positive. This involves reaching out to families with daily positive messages, stepping into classrooms to witness the remarkable growth of students and teachers, and being transparent about the challenging conversations we navigate regularly.

The underlying message is clear: we are all in this together. By offering support, encouragement, and recognition to one another, we can create and sustain a positive and motivating environment, even in the face of daily challenges. The commitment to building relationships and fostering a culture of appreciation guarantees that every member, whether a teacher or an administrator, experiences a sense of value and motivation to enhance their own lives and make meaningful contributions to others.