Offering teachers support is critical to the success of your school and its employees. There are countless ways that administrators can support teachers, but before we dive into how, let’s take a look at why.
After the events of the last two years, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that:
- Nearly 70% of teachers are worried about their own mental health and wellbeing
- 33% of Canadian teachers say they’re thinking about changing professions or retiring
That’s why offering teachers support is so critical. In fact, 69% of districts not facing a teacher shortage state they have high or very high retention rates. What’s more, teachers feel that better support will improve retention—and that’s something you can provide.
Read on for five tips that will help you give the support that keeps teachers engaged and excited to come to work every day.
Tip #1: Trust their expertise
Even with years of training and teaching experience, many people question whether teachers know what’s best for their students, their classrooms and even their own education. Telling your staff you trust their experience and asking what kinds of support they need from you to achieve their goals is a powerful way to demonstrate your faith in their abilities.
Tip #2: Listen to them
In addition to trusting them to know what they need—and then helping them obtain it—it’s also important to ask them for their input about school matters. What education innovations do they think the school could use? What concerns are they facing in the classroom? And what do they feel their students need to succeed?
Taking time to hear their concerns—and following up afterward—shows you value their voices.
Tip #3: Model wellness
You may not be surprised to learn that a teacher’s stress level is about that of an ER doctor or nurse. Which means one of the best ways administrators can support teachers is by giving them the downtime they need to care for themselves.
Encourage staff members to create boundaries and de-stress by:
- Taking a daily walk
- Shutting down the computer at 7:00 p.m.
- Providing them with relaxation experiences and items
For example, a useful teacher gift, like a yoga mat and a few online classes, can give teachers the tools they need to lower their stress levels. You can also offer an adult colouring book and a reminder to take 30 minutes away from all the stresses of the day. (Don’t forget to model these behaviours too, whether it’s by not answering email after a certain hour or displaying your colouring masterpiece on your office wall.)
Tip #4: Recognize their accomplishments
When you visit a classroom, perform a review or hold a one-on-one meeting, it can be all too easy to focus on the things that need to improve, rather than the things that a teacher is doing well.
Make sure when you perform a check-in of any kind that you take the time to also recognize the educator’s accomplishments. You can do this by:
- Asking their fellow teachers for input on what they do well and sharing it with them.
- Calling out a lesson or interaction in class that went exceptionally well and asking them how they made it happen. (Bonus: Talking through something they might have done on instinct creates a learning opportunity for you and them.)
You can make the discussion even more impactful with a useful teacher gift. For example, consider giving the teacher you see working wonders with high-energy students a few fidget spinners or Tangle Stress Relievers. Or just thank them for their great work with a teacher bag.
Tip #5: Get collaborative
While other teachers (and of course, the internet) can provide resources and ideas that can help a teacher’s lesson plans soar, many times educators plan their classes in a vacuum. By meeting with teachers on a regular basis, you can help them build that next great lesson by:
- Meeting one-on-one to discuss upcoming units
- Reviewing lesson plans and offering suggestions
- Role-playing lessons for timing, to locate potential missing content or to add ideas that might make them better
Strong support equals strong schools
Once you know some of the ways administrators can support teachers, you’ll soon discover that support will come right back to your school. And with every helping hand you offer, your teachers will be better able to supply the kind of engaging education every child deserves.