Being a Principal and Spouse to a Sustainable Teacher

Aug 10, 2021

Hey teacher-friend, welcome back to the Sustainable Teacher, I’m so glad you decided to tune in today, and oh boy do I have an episode for you.  In this episode I am introducing you to none other than my main-man and husband, Dr. Bill Rice.

I’m excited to bring him on not just because he’s my husband but also because he is an administrator - he is a high school principal at a school about 15 minutes down the road from us, and today he is offering a wonderful perspective.  Well, two perspectives actually, on what it is to be a sustainable teacher, and that is from a principal’s role and the role of a teacher’s spouse.

My goal in interviewing Bill is not so that we can say, “see this is what you should be doing” to either our principals or our spouses, but so that teachers can see that your sustainability is what’s most important, next to being effective with kids, and that the classroom atmosphere and overarching learning experience you build for your students is more important than any one, overly amazing lesson that you feel you have to create every day of the week.

This is an incredibly important message, especially in the back to school season we find ourselves in at the time that this episode will air.  And I hope it's one that registers with you more than the stress you are currently feeling.

So without further ado, let’s bring Bill on.

Be sure to give the episode a listen on your favorite podcast app, or by clicking play at the top of this page.

Here are some questions that guided our conversation.

A Principal to Sustainable Teachers

  1. Let’s start by telling my listeners about you, your experience in education, and who you are.
  2. You play two roles (well you have many roles, but two we’ll talk about here) that are very applicable to the main theme and focus of this podcast, and that is principal to sustainable teachers, and a husband to a sustainable teacher.  So I guess we’ll just focus on one role at a time, and we’ll start with your role as a principal.
  3. How do you view your role as a principal of a building when it comes to sustaining teachers?

  4. What is the number one thing you as a principal can do to help sustain and retain teachers?
  5. What is your top advice for teachers looking to be a bit more effective and sustainable in their daily teaching lives?

A Husband to a Sustainable Teacher

  1. Now let’s shift to your other role, and that is of husband (or spouse) to a teacher, which you were for more than 10 years - you supported me through all of student teaching and even a bit before that.   (I’ll tell my story of anxiety and overwhelm as teacher/mother) Often times we focus on how hard motherhood and working motherhood is, which is very much was for me as  teacher-mom, but I’ve never asked what the experience was like for you not only being a principal and becoming a father, but being a husband to a working, teaching mom.  Tell us about that.
  2. I don’t know if you remember this, but one of the things you told me in the thick of my tears and anxiety as I was putting babies to bed, worrying about cleaning the house, and preparing for my teaching day the next day, you said something along the lines of “Even if you don’t get xyz done, the kids will still be there, and you will still be able to teach them.”  This was profound for me, but tell the listeners a bit about your thinking in saying that.
  3. What would  be your top advice for spouses of teachers - whether they are or become parents or not?


The Impact of a Sustainable Teacher

Oh man, I hope that ending there wasn’t too awkward for you all, but I had to leave it in there because it would’ve felt unnatural not to, but I have to say that even though you couldn’t see my face, I was blushing hard.  He’s always had that effect on me.

I should also tell you that one of our three boys… the ones we had put to bed about 20 minutes prior to this interview, interrupted us three times.  Of course it was edited out, but I feel it necessary to say that I live nothing other than real-life, and I’m happy to share that with all of you so that we normalize real-life interruptions and role-balancing in action.

Man, I hope that interview was as special for you as it was for me.  Of course, it was special for me because I believe in him and am doing every aspect of life with him, but I hope that it was encouraging for you to hear that you’ve got this.  If you’re here, listening, if you’re thinking of ways to improve and be better for your students and for your family or in your personal life, then you are on the right path.

One of my main takeaways from the interview was when he talked about the relationship that I had built with students, and how they value me as their teacher would have more impact with them than any one lesson, even on days when I just couldn’t fully prepare the night before like I had hoped.  And that is so so true.

It rings true because sustainability is the classroom atmosphere, it is the systems we put in place, it’s the overall structure of what we do day in and day out so that we have time to look at our kids' faces, and have real conversations and treat them more than just a score on a test.

And that is exactly what I hope this podcast does for you, and any other free or paid program that I offer… all of it, I hope that it all is helping you build your sustainable classroom so you can focus on what really matters… building up those humans you call your students.

Alright teacher-friend, that’s what I have for you today, and I will see you same time next week.  Bye for now.

If you're looking to improve or even focus on your sustainability as the educator, knowing you can have greater impact if you're able to stay in the classroom longer, but also know you can't keep up the current pace you're at...

Then I invite you to join us in the Sustainable Teacher Podcast.  It's a 7-Day Challenge of increasing your sustainability, but is NOT meant to challenge your calendar.  Click the image below to get registered (p.s. It's totally FREE).


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