It’s June and everyone around you is wrapping up the year. Each day, students leave with armfuls of old projects and crinkled notebooks. Teachers are reorganizing the shelves and packing up books to prepare for a thorough room cleaning. It’s an exciting time for all…except maybe you.
As a school leader, you are thinking ahead to the start of next year. In fact, you’ve been doing so for months, making sure everything is lined up — from Chromebook repairs, to purchase orders, to faculty. It’s that last piece that has you feeling on edge. Even though you are 90% sure your faculty will be returning “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” come September, there is still a tiny, nagging part of you that wonders…But, what if?
Instead of listening to that nagging part of you in June, why not try some of the ideas below to ensure your teachers are happy all year round? After all, happy teachers means returning teachers, right?
1. See them and treat them as humans.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to bring up. As school leaders, it’s really easy to become overwhelmed with the to-do lists that always seem to be growing. You’re feeling the demands of the state, the network/district, etc. and this often trickles down into the daily messages you share with your staff. Before asking them to do that “thing”, just take a moment to be transparent (and maybe even modify expectations when necessary to make it more doable). “I know you’re feeling overwhelmed with all there is to do. I am, too, but I know we can get through this together. We are a team.”
2. Coach them, rather than manage them.
Why is the coaching model of professional development gaining such popularity these days? Because it works. Teachers who work with instructional coaches are taking risks and shifting their practice in positive ways every day. This is a great opportunity for you as their school leader! Partner with your teachers in a more effective way by taking on a coaching role at your own school. Teachers who feel safe and supported will make more gains in the long run. Need some tips? Check out the resources on our community.
3. Lead by example; you’re still learning, too.
When we need to get in shape physically, we sign up for a personal trainer. But what about when we need to get in shape professionally? There is a multitude of support available to you as a school leader — from personal instructional coaches to workshops designed with you in mind. So, why not try one out? They may even be able to help you with some of the ideas on this list…
4. Give them what they need.
Believe me, your teachers know that budgets are an unfortunate challenge in the education world. One of the best things you can give them that is virtually free? Time. (I know you’re thinking; time isn’t free, but bear with me). Get creative and try delivering important information digitally (running online Doc, or virtual classroom space). This might free up some faculty meeting time that could better be used for teacher collaboration/planning. They will be grateful!
5. Promote team culture.
We all work better when we feel supported, right? There is no better support than on a team-level, especially a team that’s so close, it feels like family. So, how will you promote this type of culture in your school? A school initiative/goal is a great way to get everyone on the same page. It also makes recognizing teachers’ efforts a lot easier (which is super important). Let’s say we are all working towards better student collaboration. If someone sees evidence of this in a classroom, shout it out in an all-school email or faculty Google Classroom. After all, we’re in this together.
Putting it All Together
You have a lot on your list already, so sometimes these things go by the wayside. It’s understandable, but if it is let go for too long, that tiny nagging part of you (from earlier in this post) might get bigger…and louder. The good news? You don’t have to do it alone.
Coaching companies like Educate offer support for school leaders on a continual basis. Not only can you opt for personalized, 1:1 coaching sessions, but you can meet with other school leaders during comprehensive workshops, tailored to meet your needs. Happy school leaders — happy teachers — happy students.
Interested in finding out how Educate can support your personal growth?