Principals, administrators, and district leaders understand the critical importance of providing teachers with sufficient time to effectively engage in lesson planning, implement initiatives, differentiate instruction, grade assignments, and more. However, the reality is that as the demands on educators and school staff continue to increase every year, it becomes more and more difficult to create a schedule that accommodates teachers' needs to accomplish these expectations.
If school leaders could give more time to teachers, they would.
But, they can’t.
So, they have to find innovative ways to support teachers in the absence of additional time.
Here are 5 ways that school leaders can best support teachers when time is limited.
1. Keep your door open more than it’s closed.
This creates an inviting and supportive environment for collaboration and communication. It encourages your team to approach you with questions, concerns, or ideas, fostering a sense of accessibility and approachability. This open-door policy also promotes transparency and teamwork, allowing for a free exchange of knowledge, feedback, and innovative solutions within the school community.
2. Pop into classrooms to say hello. This one is observation free!
Without the intention of formal observation, “stopping by” can have a powerful impact on building positive relationships with teachers and students. It shows genuine interest in their work and well-being, creating a sense of camaraderie and support. These informal interactions also provide valuable opportunities to witness the learning environment firsthand, gaining insights that can inform decision-making and strengthen school culture.
3. Leave a sticky note when you see a really great teacher strategy in action.
This is a simple yet meaningful way to acknowledge and appreciate the hard work and effective practices of your teachers. It not only boosts their morale and confidence to hear from you in an encouraging way, but also motivates them to continue employing those successful strategies. These small gestures of recognition can go a long way in creating a culture of positivity and continuous improvement within the school, fostering a supportive and collaborative environment for all.
4. Ask teachers what professional development they want.
This demonstrates a commitment to personalized growth and recognizes the expertise and unique needs of individual educators. By involving teachers in the decision-making process, school leaders can ensure that professional development aligns with their interests, goals, and instructional areas that require further development. This collaborative approach not only enhances the relevance and effectiveness of professional development, but also empowers teachers and promotes a culture of ownership and professional growth within the school community. Grab this information in a google survey, an email, or just straight up ask!
5. Buy breakfast for your staff every once in a while.
It’s a small gesture that starts the day off on a positive note and fosters a sense of appreciation and good morale.
The majority of school leaders strive to create an empowering environment for educators to explore new ideas, collaborate with colleagues, and refine their instructional practices. Implementing these small strategies can make a significant difference within your school community.