As I thought about all the people I know personally, professionally, and just acquaintances the person who keep coming to mind as a competent communicator is the instructional assistant in my classroom. This is only our second school year working to together and I have already learned so much from her about effective communication through her competent communication ability. I have reflected often on my communication style and effectiveness. For this blog post I will refer to her as Sue.
Sue has an energetic, fun, caring personality, which I find is the beginning of her effective communication skills. She just walks into a room happy and excited to get started with whatever is to come, but not in an overwhelming annoying way. You know from the moment she enters you could go to her with anything and she would do her best to help you. She truly cares about children and supporting our classroom, which shows in her actions and words. She never misses a chance to greet a child, and make positive eye contact with staff. She always gets down to children eye level when she speaks and listens to them. She has a soft calm tone with children and adults. She tries to smile and stay positive throughout the day, some days are easier than others.
As I mentioned Sue is passionate about supporting our students and the classroom. She is very respectful of my position as the classroom teacher, which is reflected, in how she speaks and responds to me. Sue knows I always want staff to share questions, concerns, and ideas that would help our classroom run even better. Sue is the type that never stop noticing and thinking about how things can be tweaked for the better. She often will come to me and let me know she was thinking about a situation and either ask what I think and how should she handle it in the future or offers an idea she had. Sue is very accepting of feedback, but will continue to question a situation if she feels passionate about it. She is very good at taking a step back when we don’t see eye to eye and approaching it a different day or in a different way. I take a bit longer to process and reflect on a situation, I may need time to mull over an idea. I have unfortunately shot down some ideas which in hindsight I realized where great in there intension, they just needed a different solution. Sue may get frustrated in the moment, as can I that a solution was not found or I did not support her plan. However, she is able to move on and truly implement the plan I presented without verbal or nonverbal contempt for the idea. Sue will come back with feedback on how she felt it went and agree the plan worked or continue to suggest tweaking. Sue is passionate and confident in her thoughts and ideas and has gained my respect. She has helped me reflect on my communications with others.
We collaborate like this daily, it is a back and forth communication. We both know neither one of us have all the answers; some days are more effective than others. When two passionate people work in close proximity daily there are bound to be clashes of personality and ideas. We must take the time to listen and collaborate on the best ways to support our classroom. I am just so thankful to have an instructional assistant that is just as passionate about children as I am. Whether I agree or disagree with an idea Sue has I always know it comes from a place a caring and a passion for children.