SOLC 19 of 31: Reading, Writing and Math Buddies

I make it a practice as an elementary school principal to have a reading, writing or math buddy in almost every classroom. I work with them weekly for about 15-30 minutes on whatever it is they are working on at that moment. When I arrive I tell them, “I’ll do the writing, you do the thinking.” For my struggling writers, they love this.

Working 1:1 with students throughout the week gives me joy. It reminds me why I do all of the other managerial tasks that come along with being a building Principal. I hope too, that it sends the message to my teachers that “we are all in this together.” That I, too, do not back away from working with students who struggle. Being in their classrooms weekly also gives me a better opportunity to understand their classes/students in a more organic way and see how I can best offer support.

My students have some to hold me accountable for showing up. I do my best to come weekly but sometimes a meeting gets in the way or an unexpected event that precludes me from coming.

Last week I had to tell two of my Kindergarten girls that I couldn’t come to see them. “But why?!” they whined. “Because I have to go do some other work right now,” I tried to explain. “But why?!” they whined again, accompanied by the cutest pouting faces that kindergarten girls can give you.”I’ll try to come later or tomorrow, ok?” I said. “OK,” they said in their sad voices (even though it really wasn’t ok).

I love that they love when I come. It is food for my soul and reminds me why I am in education. When I think about the things I do weekly as a leader, this is one that makes me the most proud.


  1. March 19, 2019 at 10:29 am

    What a fantastic idea! I think this type of work does so much to enhance your ability to be an instructional leader to your staff… and the best part has to be the kids. And I love the reaction of your Kindergarten students… they clearly love it too!

  2. dianeandlynne said,

    March 19, 2019 at 10:44 am

    I love that you make the commitment to work with students in the classroom. Often, I think, the “job” gets in the way of being an educator. Principals are the lead teachers. Thank you for remembering that.

  3. lgrainger125 said,

    March 19, 2019 at 10:45 am

    What an incredible impact you have. It gives you the window into the classroom teacher’s struggle too.

  4. BeReal81 said,

    March 20, 2019 at 1:47 am

    This is a great practice. It can be so easy to get stuck in your office or only enter a classroom to evaluate. And I think most time helping kids is soul filling time!

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