By Danielle Miller & Nick Kovalcik
By Danielle Miller & Nick Kovalcik
Teachers have the most critical role in the school, developing students and setting them up for success as they continue their education. Teacher retention and morale are low as educators continue to find a way to handle the everyday challenges that are evident in schools today. The cumulative impacts of the educational disruptions have affected both teachers and students. Although administrators naturally have plans for school improvement, supporting teachers must come first. There are ways for school leaders to support their teachers right now which are small steps to help make a difference in the classroom and keep teachers in the field and the district.
Teachers need someone to turn to who will be their advocate, just like students do. Be the leader that teachers can come to when they want to try something new, need feedback, or come up with an issue.
When a teacher introduces a new strategy, participate in the class rather than watch. Get a feeling of what it is like to be a student, and then commend the instructor for being willing to take risks and inviting you to participate in addition to doing so. Leaders significantly impact school culture, and presenting yourself to your teachers will help improve school culture.
Great teachers are constantly learning and adapting to change and student habits. Continuous learning is essential for teachers to feel prepared for the job and conquer any challenges they may face during the day. Personalizing professional development and letting your teachers choose their professional development topics allows educators to explore their interests and brainstorm new ideas that they can bring into the classroom. Encourage questions and curiosity. This helps teachers feel like they can ask for help and that you care about their interests.
With the rise of teacher shortages, many teachers are taking on the task of covering multiple classrooms. This time is vital for teachers to prepare their lessons, review their students’ work, participate in professional development, and collaborate with other teachers. As a school leader, it is essential to look into the resources available to offload the burden from your teachers. Look into funding available to hire substitute teachers to help with the shortages. If all else fails, take time away from your desk to help your teachers cover classrooms.
It is essential to be a leader so that teachers can come to you when issues arise and they need help. Keep communication open and create outlets for teachers to reach you to express concerns they may be having. “Leaders help set the tone for school culture. Making conscious efforts to self-reflect and reduce stressors that cause drama helps everyone to be their best selves.” (Blanchet).
It is no surprise that your teachers want to feel appreciated. Their job is essential but also incredibly hard to fulfill students’ needs in just a short time. Write an email or a handwritten note to express gratitude for the hard work your teachers are doing every day. This goes a long way!
Blanchet, Michelle. “5 Ways Administrators Can Support Teachers.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, 8 Mar. 2022, www.edutopia.org/article/5-ways-administrators-can-support-teachers/. Accessed 23 Jan. 2023.
Ferlazzo, Larry. “7 Ways Principals Can Support Teachers (Opinion).” Education Week, 23 May 2022, www.edweek.org/leadership/opinion-7-ways-principals-can-support-teachers/2022/05. Accessed 23 Jan. 2023.