Dominador M. Orpilla, PhD
P-I, Rizal Elementary School

No one in this world would like to be in a place where nobody cares. He/she would probably go to a place where everybody feels grateful for having each other and working with each other for a common goal. In other words, being in a working environment with harmonious relationships among people around is a wonderful avenue to become productive every day. This positive point of view is necessary for a workplace like a school. But how would a school leader build a harmonious working relationship among school personnel, even with those in the community like the parents and other stakeholders? This must be a challenging role and yet fulfilling once accomplished. Because this world is full of interactions between and among people, camaraderie and having a pleasant relationship with colleagues should be strengthened for it will help shape a happy and harmonious work environment where coworkers are helpful, inspiring, and supportive to each other.

Good communication is essential to a harmonious relationship. School leaders must learn how to communicate well from a place of kindness, respect, openness, and compassion. One way to build harmony at school is by expressing one’s needs and desires in a non-confrontational way. However, teachers also play this essential role among their learners. Starting with the stars of the schools who are the learners, a happy and responsive learning environment is a must for them to learn more and become productive too.

Working with the Learners

There are many ways how to work harmoniously with the learners. But loving and treasuring one’s job is the first and foremost important of all because a teacher for instance would not feel fulfilled if he/she hates what he/she is doing. Aside from teaching the lessons effectively using varied strategies and instructional materials, teachers should find time to get to know and understand their diverse learners so that they can match their strategies to their learning styles, multiple intelligences, and capabilities. If one wants an effective teaching method that helps them learn, first he/she should know each one of them through profiling. Remember that learners come from different backgrounds and have various learning needs. A well-informed teacher takes time to get to know his/her learners’ attitudes, interests, and aspirations. The most effective teaching reflects a great comprehension of learning as integrated and demonstrated by the learners over a continuous period of time.

Since learners are not mostly alike when they perform a learning task or situation, they do not all benefit from the same approach. Everyone has distinctive learning strengths and weaknesses. In this manner, teachers should intentionally use multiple ways and means to teach their learners.

It has been proposed that teachers should evaluate the learning styles perhaps they are auditory, visual, or kinesthetic, and the types of motivation of their learners as intrinsic or extrinsic and adapt their classroom methods to best fit each learner’s ways of learning because these are the factors that influence learners’ learning and their academic performance/achievement. Awareness of these factors may help students learn effectively. Learning is evident if teachers consider these various factors that influence the way they learn.

Moreover, everything must be done in a way that learners feel that they are important and loved by their teachers, other learners, and all other personnel in the school. Appreciate everything they do especially when progressing in their studies and constantly support and guide them with empathy when they need it the most.

Working with the School Personnel

Relationship with colleagues has a massive impact on one’s working life. Building a positive working relationship with coworkers takes time and effort.

As a school leader or a teacher, trying to make a good impression, recognizing the school culture, and working out who’s who in the school is a must. One should involve himself/herself with the different school events and activities. The school leader must also see to it that everybody is trying to build cooperative relationships, particularly with other new teachers and personnel. Even though there are cliques among personnel, the leader must just try to stay neutral because it is better not to get strained into internal disputes.

Most schools have a combination of accommodating and enthusiastic faculty and staff members. There is also not so good and harmonious relationship. However, if the school leader encounters some conflicts, right there and there he/she should try to resolve them. However, the school leader should acknowledge the skills and expertise of more experienced colleagues. He/she should also show confidence to express his/her ideas and suggest enhancements but pleasantly and cautiously.

In addition, a school leader or a teacher does not only need to get to know his/her colleagues but also the complicated system of relationships that exists in the school. Hence, working out how the staff relates to each other is priceless, especially the relationships between teaching and support staff.

Working with the Community

The role of a teacher in an optimistic school-community relationship is extremely important since it is the teacher who is the pillar of the educational system. Although school boards build school policies and school leaders interpret these policies, teachers are the people who implement them. Teachers must also be equipped to make the most promising impression possible in even the most guiltless situations to maintain community support. The community’s perceptions of the teacher affect their discernments of the school and then student morale, school assets, and support for the school in general. So as a teacher, one should dwell on learning and directly transfer knowledge to his/her learners, and indirectly to the people in the community. Within the school, the school leader can also embody the finest values and attitudes of the community. He/she should be standing as an example of equality, kindness, and concern.

As a school leader, it is his/her responsibility to open lines of communication to parents/families and other members of the community. In making this possible, he/she should use many different means to share both the achievements and needs of the school. Likewise, teachers may conduct home visitations to learners with delinquency or perhaps ask the parents to go to school during parent’s meetings to inform them about the performance of their children. Parents are the school’s partners in their children’s education which is why their support is very important. Communication is one of the best gears schools have. They need to know that they are a vital part of their child’s education and future.

Lastly, school leaders should coordinate with private organizations and local government officials to conduct community activities like tree planting and augment existing school feeding programs/gift-giving to indigent families of some barangays and other ways to help families of learners, especially those really in need. The school in general must as well participate in some civic gatherings and activities in the community and constantly recognize all stakeholders’ efforts and contributions to the school to strengthen school-community relationships and partnerships. According to Milany May, “If one wants to have a harmonious relationship one must learn to communicate and compromise”. Indeed, a wonderful quote to remember.

In conclusion, it is important for any organization to have good working relationships among its people as well as build and maintain them. In such an environment, the employees can perform better at their jobs and lesser issues during teamwork. When people experience such harmony, the chances are that they will have a greater sense of value and belongingness.