Difficult Conversations With a Novice Teacher

~45 minutes

Sample the Simulation

As the principal of an elementary school, concerns from staff have been raised regarding the clothing being worn by one of your novice teachers. Before you are able to address this issue, additional concerns surface about this novice teacher’s instruction. In this simulation, you will need to facilitate difficult conversations with this novice teacher to address these concerns.

Key characters include a teacher in problematic spring wardrobe, staff members who point out the problem to you, and an instructional math coach who is concerned about the novice teacher’s mathematics instruction.

Trade-offs to consider: 

  • Should the principal address the dress code issue alone or include the school counselor, while risking embarrassment either way. Does the principal’s gender play a role in this decision?
  • Should the principal address all criticisms in a single conversation or address the most important issue first, risking confusion either way. Are dress code concerns more important than concerns about mathematics instruction?
  • Should a principal divulge the exact source of concerns, divulge a generic source of concerns, or avoid mentioning the source of concerns, risking issues of trust. Is is all right to share the source of concerns?
  • What is the process for instructional coaches to share concerns about a teacher’s instruction?

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Created in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania