Sometimes, however, the grind gets to us. Long days, meetings after meetings, being asked to do more with less, the challenging student or class, the parent who never seems satisfied all add to the stress of our profession.
As an administrator, I feel the some of the same strains and when the stress mounts I know I'm not as effective at my job as an instructional leader as I need to be. Needless to say, it's the same for teachers.
Administrators most important responsibility is creating a culture of pride, positivity and confidence for our educators. Below are 10 ways to accomplish this.
- Writing a handwritten note of appreciation.
- Creating a culture of collaboration among teachers Whether it's through PLCs, faculty teams, or other purposeful groups, it's important that we create opportunities for teachers to work together to build social and human capital. Creating agendas and setting a purpose increases the effectiveness and efficiency of group meetings so that they're not a waste of time, a gripe session or another meeting.
- Talking to students about their best experiences. Before school and during lunch I often talk to students about what they most enjoy about our school and their best classes. In addition to using this to take a pulse of our school, I share the accolades and positive comments with the appropriate teachers.
- Make appropriate use of data. Too often--and often not deliberately--data is used for compliance or scare tactics. Instead use data to analyze trends to create plans of instructional support for teaching and student learning.
- Create meaningful and purposeful professional development.
- Work collaboratively and individually with teachers to determine what it is they need to be successful. This ranges from questions like When I observe your class, what do you want me to focus on to constantly asking, What is it you need from me? What can I change or do?
- Recognize that almost every teacher wants feedback. By providing meaningful and targeted feedback focused on students' learning strengths and challenges in relation to teacher instruction, we build efficacy and skills.
- Encourage risk-taking. January and February are great times to take risks. After a full semester of building relationships with their students, it's a great time to leverage the relationship and trust that has been built to try innovative lessons that may fail. Harness the power of trust to be adventurous.
- Make use of positive referrals. In addition to recognizing students--which teachers love to do-- it's an opportunity for the student to discuss the positive influences of the nominating teacher.
- Create opportunities for your students and families to recognize excellence. This could be something as simple as setting up a table at lunch for students to write personalized notes or nominating teachers for recognition through an online form'
What are some systems or ways in your schools that administrators provide supports for educators?