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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in teacher
Posted by on in Education Leadership

In the last several months we tackled the topic of relationships over rules in the world of students. You can read that post here. This time around, we’re diving into the world of relationships over rules with teachers.

 

As a second year administrator, I (Brent) have a lot still to learn about how to best serve, support, and care for teachers. In my 15 months that I’ve served in this capacity, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. Some small, some not so much. I’ve had staff in the building tell me how much they appreciate my support and encouragement while at the same time unintentionally doing a terrible job of supporting someone the next hallway over. I heard it said recently that students want a supportive, engaging, encouraging environment where they feel known and cared for. I would venture to say adults merely want the same.

 

As an administrator, I (Jeff) get a unique and humbling vantage point into the blood, sweat, and tears that teachers invest everyday into the lives of kids. I try to make it my goal to ensure that I am not making the life of a teacher any harder. Sadly, I am certain that there are times I have probably placed an additional burden or expectation on the back of the teacher that caused stress. Our role as campus leaders is not positional, but rather to support teachers to be successful as they are on the front lines for kids and families.

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Posted by on in Leadership

 

Frustrated

Over the span of my career, I’ve worked with outstanding principals, very poor principals, and all of those in between. Leadership in a school makes a difference! Arne Duncan, the former U.S. Secretary of Education, said, “There are no good schools without good principals. It just doesn’t exist. And where you have great principals, good teachers come, and they stay, they work hard, and they grow.” With the wrong leader, good teachers leave, mediocre ones stay and gradually (or not so gradually) the school declines. The Wallace Foundation and other researchers have found that principal leadership impacts student learning and the impact is much larger than previously thought. Leaders shape a vision of academic success for all students based on high expectations, create a positive, safe climate, cultivate leadership in others, improve instruction, and have organizational management skills. Effective instructional leaders influence others to keep the focus on students and student learning. 

The task of creating and maintaining a high-quality school that students deserve is a large one. Effective principals leverage teacher leaders but ultimately acknowledge that the responsibility of the school climate rests with the principal. Less effective principals are unaware or dismissive of their overall responsibility as an instructional leader. They also often lack interpersonal intelligence skills and are unable to discern how they come across to people. As a result, teacher leaders are often left shaking their heads in disbelief about the actions and decisions of the principal. Gradually, the school climate begins to decline because of hiring choices and lack of leadership. The philosophy of the principal is to stay below the radar, and he does “just enough” to get by, “just enough” not to draw the attention of superiors, or “just enough” not to anger too many parents. Good teachers leave the school out of frustration. Student learning is at risk. 

How can teacher leaders, who for a variety of reasons can’t or choose not to leave the school, still grow as a leader, provide a quality education for the students that attend there, and influence others to keep the focus on student learning? What can teacher leaders do if they feel like they’re leading with their hands tied behind their back? 

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

 Coloring

A teacher's day is full of a lot of stress. We're responsible for the well-being of 30 or more students. We have to inspire, guide, and nourish young minds. We have administrative duties and responsabilities. There's also the grading and constant monitoring of student progress. At times you will feel as though you can't keep going, that you need a break. A surprisingly simple strategy is coloring. 

Adult coloring has become a popular activity. Many book stores offer a section specific to adult coloring books. The designs of adult coloring books are more intricate and detailed. These books tend to have a lot geometric shapes and elements. You can use color pencils, crayons, markers, whatever you enjoy the most. Some books are even specifically designed so that you can rip-off the pages and then frame them.

As a teacher, your classroom probably already has the coloring supplies you need. You'll probably just need to keep a coloring book or some coloring pages in your desk drawer. 

I've attended school meetings where we were asked to color. At first I was a little confused by my administrator's choice of activity, but I eventually realized that it got all of us to relax and focus on something other than our problems. We were jokingly fighting over the crayons, comparing our masterpieces, and laughing. 

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Posted by on in General

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To be a teacher, you gotta love what you do. You can't just get by on caffeine and girl scout cookies (don't ask).

You really, absolutely, unconditionally have to love it, because, MAN it's a hard gig!

It's a Hercules meets Sisyphus effort. When your students are climbing Mt. Knowledge, you're scaling Mt. Grading Stuff, and just when you think you've summited, the mountain gets higher still.

And then, there are many treacherous passes, steep inclines, and trying obstacles all along the way.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

 Rapport refers to the connection we create with other human beings. In education, developing rapport with our students is one of the most important parts of our job. Some of our students walk into the classroom not understanding themselves or believing in themselves. While they might not verbally say so, all of them want to be acknowledged and feel that they are special to us.

We have all have busy schedules. The expectations of a teacher are now higher than ever. How do we develop rapport with our students? 

Here's a few suggestions:

1. Learn their names. This can be challenging if you have a lot of students, but no one likes to be called "hey, kid".

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