Monday, January 6, 2020
Seven Strategies to Provide Help for Teachers
Most teachers are eager to learn, want to improve, and work hard at their craft. Some are more natural than others and innately understand what it takes to be an effective teacher. However, there are many teachers that need time and assistance in developing the skills it takes to be an outstanding teacher. All teachers have areas where they are strong and areas in which they are weak. The best teachers will work hard to improve in all areas. Sometimes a teacher needs assistance in identifying their strengths and weaknesses as well as a plan to improve. This is a crucial part of a principalÃ¢â¬â¢s job. A principal should know each teacherÃ¢â¬â¢s individual strength and weaknesses. They should develop a plan for providing help for teachers that focus on areas that need improvement. There are many ways that a principal can provide help for teachers. Here, we examine seven strategies that a principal may use in developing a plan of improvement for each teacher. Identify the Essential There are many areas that a teacher must be solid in to be an effective teacher. Being ineffective in one area often has an effect on other areas. As a principal, it is vital that you narrow the focus to what you consider being the biggest areas of need. For example, you may be working with a teacher in which you have identified six areas that need improvement. Working on all six areas at once will be overwhelming and counter-intuitive. Instead, identify the two that you believe are most prominent and start there. Create a plan that focuses on improving in those top areas of need. Once those areas improve to an effective level, then you can create a plan to work on other areas of need. It is critical that teacher understands that you are trying to help them throughout this process. They must trust that you have their best interest in mind. A strong principal will build a relationship with their teacher that allows them to be critical when they need to be without hurting a teacherÃ¢â¬â¢s feelings. Constructive Conversation A principal should have in-depth conversations on a regular basis with their teachers about the happenings in their classroom. These conversations not only give the principal perspective about what is happening in the classroom, they allow the principal to give helpful suggestions and tips through informal conversation. Most young teachers especially are sponges. They want to improve and seek out knowledge of how to do their job better. These conversations also are significant trust builders. A principal who actively listens to their teachers and works to create solutions to their problems will gain their trust. This can lead to helpful conversations that can immensely improve a teacherÃ¢â¬â¢s effectiveness. They will be more open when you are critical because they understand you are looking out for what is best for them and the school. Video/Journaling There are occasions in which a teacher may not see something as an area in which they need to improve. In this case, it may be advantageous for you to video a series of lessons so that they can watch it back to understand what you are seeing in your observations. Watching video of your teaching can be a powerful tool. You will be surprised at what you learn about yourself as you watch the tape back. This can lead to powerful reflection and realization that you do need to change to your approach in how you teach. Journaling can also be an exceptional tool to help a teacher improve. Journaling allows a teacher to keep track of different approaches they have used and to compare their effectiveness days, months, or even years later. Journaling allows to teachers to look back at where they were and see how much they have grown over the course of time. This self-reflection can spark a desire to continue to improve or to change an area in which the writing helps them realize they need to make changes. Model the Skills Principals are supposed to be the leaders in their building. Sometimes the best way to lead is to model. A principal should never be afraid to put a lesson together that focuses on an individual teacherÃ¢â¬â¢s weakness and then teach that lesson to the teacherÃ¢â¬â¢s class. The teacher should observe and make notes throughout the lesson. This should be followed up with a healthy conversation between you and the teacher. This conversation should focus on what they saw you do in their lessons that many of their lessons often lack. Sometimes a teacher simply needs to see it done right to understand what they need to change and how they are supposed to do it. Set up Observations With a Mentor There are teachers that are experts at their craft who are willing to share their insights and experiences with other teachers. This can be powerful in many different areas. Every young teacher should be given the opportunity to observe an established veteran teacher and have them serve as their mentor. This relationship should be a two-way street where the mentor could also observe the other teacher and provide feedback. There are so many positives that can come out of this type of relationship. A veteran teacher may be able to share something that clicks with the other teacher and sets them on the path of them becoming a mentor someday themselves. Provide Resources There are so many resources that a principal can provide a teacher that focuses on every possible area in which they may struggle. Those resources include books, articles, videos, and websites. It is essential to give your struggling teacher a variety of resources that provide multiple strategies for improving. What works for one teacher may not work for another. After giving them time to look through the material, follow it up with conversations to see what they took from the resources as well as how they plan to apply it to their classroom. Provide Specific Professional Development Another way to provide help for teachers is to give them professional development opportunities that are unique to their own individual needs. For example, if you have a teacher that struggles with classroom management, find an outstanding workshop which deals with classroom management and send them to it. This training can be invaluable to improving a teacher. When you send them to something you hope that they are able to gain valuable, applicable insights that they can immediately bring back to their classrooms and apply.