The job of a school principal is complex, broad, and challenging. We often focus on the notion that students need to be at the center of everything we do. While I am not disputing this, I do believe that principals need to focus a lot of their energy on the teachers at their sites. Happy teachers make great teachers. Great teachers can have an enormous impact on student achievement. The reverse is also true. Unhappy teachers are unable to make the impact they need to in the classroom in order to best serve students.
Therefore, here are 5 ways principals can brighten a teacher’s day:
- Acknowledge the Work
Teaching is exhausting. Whether you teach Kindergarten or senior AP English Lit, the job of a teacher is never quite complete. There is always more lesson planning, grading, assessing, relationship building, and parent outreach that can be done. Teachers need to be praised. A positive work environment is a product work environment. In order to keep up the breakneck pace of a being a teacher, they need to feel supported, valued, and appreciated. Principals need to acknowledge the hard work and long hours that teachers put in each and every day. Remember, teachers who feel valued are happy teachers. Happy teachers make great teachers.
- Hot / Cold Beverage Service
One of the hardest concepts to convey to people who are not teachers is that they can’t leave their classrooms to get a drink, go to the bathroom, or to just get some fresh air for a few minutes. Therefore, principals can bring the refreshment to the classroom. Creating a coffee / tea or a soda / iced tea cart is simple, cheap, and would be greatly appreciated by teachers. This 60-second break can help revitalize and reenergize a teacher. It will also lift their spirits.
- Take Over Data Entry Tasks
Teachers are constantly getting new programs and tools from either the school or the district as a whole. Some districts have large enough IT departments that can create class lists and accounts for individual teachers at the school site. However, in many schools, teachers must complete this data entry themselves. For many programs, this must be completed at the start of each school year. To complete this data entry, teachers must use their prep period or their evening hours to get this done. Principals make their teachers feel valued and respected by acknowledging the time needed to complete these tasks and finish this data entry in the office. Those 20 minutes that it takes to complete a class in the office rather than in the classroom will be well worth it and will be much appreciated.
- Supervising Breaks
Teachers at all levels complete supervision duty in one form or another. Some teachers supervise children at recess, other before or after school. Principals need to get to know their teachers on a deep level. When they know that one of them is not feeling well or having a particularly difficult day, week, or year, popping in to take their yard duty in order to give them a much-needed break will definitely brighten their day.
- Creating Positive Social Media Posts
Principals need to get into classrooms much more than they do. Please see one of my previous posts on this topic here: 5 Ways To Make Classroom Walk-throughs More Powerful. Posting positive messages about teachers, their lessons, hard work, dedication, and commitment to the community via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms will demonstrate to teachers that the principal appreciates their hard work and wants to share their story with everyone. Positive messages are powerful and go along way in making people feel valued.
Dr. David Franklin, CEO of The Principal’s Desk, is an experienced teacher, school administrator, education professor, curriculum designer, and presenter. Dr. Franklin has presented at national and international education conferences as is available for school and district professional development sessions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at http://www.principalsdesk.org.