Teachers are the backbone of the educational sector. They play a huge role in children’s learning, intellectual development, and overall growth. Apart from helping them in academics, teachers also ensure to build students’ confidence, capacity, and strength. With good teachers in your institute, there is a higher chance of success for both your institute and your pupils.
However, teachers also need support, trust, and autonomy from school management to continue giving their best performance. Lack of support and a conducive teaching environment may lead to burnout, disengagement, and mental health issues in teachers.
Role of School Leaders to Support Teachers
School leadership plays a significant role in ensuring that teachers continue to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. The administration is responsible for making teachers feel valued, encouraged, and cared for, which reflects in their work.
Below are ten ways school leaders can support teachers:
1. Maintain Healthy Work-life Balance
Create avenues for your teachers to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Teachers are always on the go with the post-pandemic online and blended learning trend. A typical day for a teacher involves lesson delivery, lesson planning, grading assignments, test papers preparation, and administrative tasks. In addition, they continue to work at home and during the weekend and may neglect their personal and family needs.
School administrators with hands-on educational leadership training and experience understand that teachers need to rest and recharge. Therefore, the management should restrict official communication after work hours, set personal boundaries, and agree on manageable work expectations with the teachers.
2. Provide Autonomy
Autonomy is linked with greater job satisfaction. Let your teachers lead the teaching style, classroom management, and lesson delivery decisions. As long as learning outcomes are met as intended, allow your teachers to be creative in their classrooms. Autonomy motivates teachers to help and support learning in the best way possible for the students. Teachers with authority can reach each student and help them achieve their learning goals. Schools that control every aspect of the classroom hinder child learning and development.
3. Professional Development Opportunities
Support your teachers’ professional development to grow their capacity and skill set. You can provide ample formal and informal learning opportunities to your teaching staff.
Formal professional development platforms may include seminars, conferences, workshops, short courses, and training sessions. Informal learning is attained via independent research, quality feedback, educational literature, and peer activities. Learning opportunities enable a growth mindset in teachers and help increase their confidence in the classroom. In addition, teachers feel valued and appreciated for their hard work and dedication.
4. Promote Open Communication
School administrators should openly communicate with their staff to promote respect, trust, transparency, and honesty. Encourage your staff to reach out to you with their concerns and challenges and listen to their problems without bias. Engage in formal and informal communication to stay informed of important matters. Provide and seek periodic feedback to address performance roadblocks and hindrances. A gap in healthy communication leads to unresolved conflicts, damaged work culture, and hinders progress.
5. Divide Workload
If your teachers manage work more than their capacity, divide some of their tasks. Too much workload will decrease teachers’ effectiveness and quality of lesson delivery. Automate tasks where possible, revisit deadlines, excuse them from unnecessary meetings, and onboard assistants for paperwork and preparing materials. It will enable teachers to focus more on the students and the classroom rather than making worksheet copies.
6. Lead with Empathy and Compassion
The role of a school principal is that of a leader with the goal of facilitating quality education. However, assuming a leadership role is impossible without empathy and compassion. Create a culture of harmony, mutual respect, and care. Instill a sense of belonging and purpose through communication, empowerment, meaningful connections, and a positive mindset. Make your staff feel safe, heard, valued, and inspire them to become their best selves.
7. Support Teachers’ Mental Health
Schools with rigid and strict policies should review them and make appropriate changes to suit teachers and educators. For example, introduce flexible attendance and provision of mental health days. Teachers are at a high risk of developing depression and anxiety symptoms. Several teachers have quit the profession due to the stress they feel because of work. The school leadership should take appropriate measures to take care of the mental well-being of teachers. Teachers with poor mental health are prone to emotional exhaustion, burnout, and poor physical health.
8. Celebrate Diversity
Understand that all teachers have a unique experience to share. They all belong to diverse backgrounds and possess distinct talents, aptitudes, and capabilities. Welcome their opinions and give them a chance to make a positive difference. If they can maintain their individuality, it will enable them to inspire students to explore and appreciate the diversity of the world around them.
9. Include Teachers in Decision Making
Make teachers part of significant decisions that may involve and impact them or students in any way. Teachers take ownership and feel valued when they become stakeholders in important management decisions. Teachers’ involvement is imperative because they are closer to students and understand how a change may affect the classroom. It also fosters a sense of belonging in teachers and accelerates their performance. With teachers’ involvement, implementing new policies or rules becomes easier.
10. Onboard an Instructional Coach
Hire an instructional coach for your teaching staff. The coach will guide teachers on the quality of lessons and delivery and serve as a mentor for teachers. Moreover, the coach will support teachers in reaching their professional goals. They also provide teacher counseling to deal with any difficulties and challenges. Instructional coaches help teachers learn and implement the latest technology and best practices in education. They help teachers discover their talents, growth potential, and personal and professional development opportunities.
Teachers have an important role to play in child development and growth. Good teachers lead their students to heights of success and accomplishment. However, teachers will cease to perform without proper support from school leadership. School administrators should ensure freedom to teach and focus on their well-being. Additionally, teachers with ample growth opportunities and quality feedback continue to prosper and make a difference. Finally, schools should hire an in-house educational coach to support and guide teachers and help them reach their true potential.
Photo by Max Fischer