There are clear positives from a teaching day, such as 1. everyday is different by the literal sense of the word, you just never know how it’s going to go, 2. Those 💡 light bulb 💡 moments when they just GET it! 3. Teenagers are hilarious. 4. The weekend feels well-earned! For most individuals, it is the sheer joy of supporting fantastic students – no one day is ever the same, loving your subject, and a sense of purpose. For some, it’s the enjoyment of finding new ways to teach things, such as teaching insect ventilation using a 6-foot model! [image] Many people who are not teachers just work. Teaching is a passion/hobby for some, living the actual teaching interaction part. We should all be thankful if it is a passion…it really is rare. There are not many other jobs where you can feel so stressed and overstretched whilst also feeling proud and inspired.
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The role that senior leaders have on retaining and supporting teachers should not be understated, and most issues can be addressed with bravery and fortitude from those in charge on most issues. Here are 10 examples where school leaders can make a positive impact on the whole culture of the school, supporting teachers:
sensible marking/feedback policies,
- support in regard to behaviour,
- meaningful CPD opportunities,
- supportive/developmental lesson obs,
- promotion of a work/life balance,
- streamlining administration tasks,
- creating an atmosphere where open and honest conversations are allowed to happen – listen and act upon what is said.
- promote a non-judgmental space,
- cut the crap 💩 -> Do a good job of supporting and developing staff, rather than collecting evidence for a file nobody will look at.
- go with what works, rather than what looks pretty.
It’s not rocket science, and the above list could easily become long and sound bitter, so praise and acknowledge. Show that you recognise the hard work, dedication and effort, even if all hasn’t gone to plan. Praising where you can means that teachers start to feel more valued, reassured, less stressed and demoralised.
However, teachers also have a role to play in creating a positive school culture, even if the workload, internal politics, and balance of life appears uneven. If one teacher moans first about a change often teachers become lemming-like and follow the negativity. If we can have a more optimistic outlook and all get on-board there could be a seismic shift. This positivity filters down to kids as well. Build relationships with the people who matter. Teaching was never meant to be a do-it-yourself job.
Culture needs to be set and cultivated by leaders then lived by staff – this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try – you may help one person or more but generally, culture grows over time through vision, leadership and actions. Rise above what you can. Support your ‘coal-face’ colleagues.
Empathise with leadership, but speak honestly about appropriate strategies. It’s an employees market so you can afford to say “No. But what about…” Better outcomes all around if people can be frank. Share ideas, promote Twitter as a tool, treat all with respect, praise often, say thank you often – greet everyone!
Individual teachers also have a responsibility to themselves, and cultivating your own attitude can sometimes be tough when faced with many negative challenges in the day. Support each other, challenge politely in meetings new initiatives that have an impact on workload, look after yourself first. Be informed around practice, looking at what other schools are doing well, what organisations/professional bodies recommend and what research shows. Use that information to present counterpoints if you are given tasks that add to workload/stress for very little gain. Other people’s ideas don’t always work for you but they might be a good starting point and be aware of what others are doing but don’t compare yourself endlessly to impossible ideals. Share resources. Chat with others about your feelings, anonymously if necessary. Ask for help when you need it!
Every teacher has influence through their example. Smile, be positive, support others & be professional. It rubs off on others & = culture. Try to develop your perspective. Try to look outside of main vision. Sounds weird but every morning look to the side and see lovely views and take note. There is a world beyond the road ahead so just look sideways in a while.
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