Seven Ways to Get the Best Out of Teachers

7 Ways

  1. Be interested. Show up in their room from time to time and see what they’re up to, just out of interest. Talk with them about learning, about students and about ideas. Make it clear that you are not only interested in how they teach, but also in teaching generally.
  2. Recognize their talents. Every teacher (yes, every teacher!) has a particular talent or strength. So much focus is placed on goals that are about developing your areas of weakness, getting better at some new initiative or doing your job better. Shift the focus as much as you can to show teachers you are aware of their talents and that other people are aware of them too.
  3. Have zero-tolerance of gossip or hearsay. Don’t allow other people to shape your judgments of teachers, and make it very clear you don’t act upon anything other than your own first-hand knowledge about them. Make sure teachers are totally confident that you know them, know how they work and base your opinions of them purely on those factors. That way they will know praise is genuine, criticism is constructive and both come directly from you.
  4. Teach. You are probably in your position because you were recognized as a good teacher and then removed from the classroom… ironic eh? Well, make it one of your priorities each week to get back in the classroom. You could cover a lesson, team-teach with someone or run a session. Your staff will respect you for it and, if you really were a good teacher, learn a great deal from you!
  5. Bring people together. Many problems in schools come fom poor relationships between teachers. Little pods form and cliques gather. This will only worsen if you don’t actively seek lots of opportunities to get people talking, to break people out of their patterns and break down any misconceptions people may start to get about each other.
  6. Give them time. The best way to show you value something, or someone, in schools is to give it or them time. Make it clear that you understand the negative relationship most schools have with time, and take obvious steps to give people time to work on things.
  7. Play. People who move into leadership positions often start to take themselves too seriously and forget to be playful, with both kids and adults. Share jokes with teachers, play harmless pranks, be silly, let down your guard. Students value the teachers who behave this way, and teachers value the leaders who behave this way.
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5 comments

  1. @dwyerteacher

    I love #2 (well I love all of them!). It so much easier to build from positives than it is to build from negatives. Move the focus away from deficiency and onto sufficiency.

    Great post.

    • Mr. Sam

      Thanks for your comment, and glad you like the posting. It’s funny, my wife just called across the room and said “but, they’re all so obvious”… she’s right, of course, but it’s amazing how often they don’t happen.

      • Ms. Chye

        I like how your wife keeps you on your toes! I would agree with her that these ideas are not ‘new’, but it was nice to read through them. My favorite is #7. Working and learning in fun environments can inspire risk-taking and the ability to relate with one another on more personal levels. That will be a mini goal for me tomorrow; make the time to play (and enjoy it!)
        : )

  2. kellisherratt

    Referring to # 5: Still far and away the best way to bring people together & be able to see each other in different lights personally & professionally is the regular mixed-grade-level UOI planning. So much new respect gained, many bridges re-built, many positive differences of opinions – true collaborative attitudes fostered and maintained.

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