Season 1 Episode 14: Administration and School Culture

By Chey Cheney

Chey and Pav, two experienced middle school teachers from the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada, take listeners through the in’s and out’s of the field of Teaching, Learning and Leadership. Through their anecdotal, yet often comedic banter, laced with caring insightfulness, they take their audience into a conversation that is surely eye-opening and entertaining, while tackling some of the real, and ever-changing issues that exist in Education.

In Episode 14 of The Staffroom, Chey and Pav talk about what qualities they look for from the Administration in order to foster a positive school culture. They discuss 5 different qualities that they would like to see in the school leadership team, so that the students get the best possible experience from their day. The first one is Permission to be Vulnerable. Teachers want to know that their principals and vice-principals are okay with teachers making mistakes in the classroom – because mistakes are a signal to show that they have tried something difficult and perhaps outside the box. It’s okay that it may not have gone right, but they made an effort to make a positive change, and potentially build relationship, and that is what is most important. The second is Trust, and allow teachers to have Voice. Teachers are have valuable and valid ideas, and good things come out of allowing teachers to run the show the way that they want to run it. The third thing is relationship building. Teachers appreciate the basic pleasantries – the check-ins are meaningful and always help teachers feel more at ease with their day. Freedom is the fourth item on the list – teachers often have great ideas, but aren’t given the freedom from their administration to act on their ideas. Teachers should be allowed to do some things outside our the mainstream so that students gain rich experiences. Micromanaging is what kills a lot of creativity in classrooms. Number 5 is Vision. Administrators need to have a clear, passionate and student-driven and focused vision. If the admin has a strong vision, teachers will buy in, and they will work for it.

Chey and Pav introduce their 3 Enlightened Minutes guest, The Punk Rock Classroom Podcast. They welcome Michael Earnshaw and Joshua Buckley, the principal and teacher combo with their podcast, that tests the mainstream and brings some Punk into their classroom.

Chey and Pav give some examples from their experiences with many different administrators in the past, how the list works and is put into action.

“Remember to Inspire, don’t Require, and always be a Humble Servant”

You can Check out our 3 Enlightened Minutes Guests: The Punk Rock Classroom Podcast at:


Michael Earnshaw

Joshua Buckley

Chey and Pav are part of the School Rubric team. Check out their Origin Story in InterACT magazine here:

They also post weekly articles based on their most recent episodes! Catch those in the Perspectives section of the School Rubric website here:

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