Keep Educators Engaged & Encourage Positive School Culture

Attracting and retaining quality educators is the goal of any great school, but without the right support, teachers can quickly become burned out, leading to them looking elsewhere, or settling into a teaching style that lacks creativity and passion, ultimately affecting students’ success. School administrators have a responsibility to help educators feel valued and appreciated and promote positivity within the school.

Help Teachers Help Students

The vast majority of teachers entered the profession with a desire to help children learn and grow. Watching students succeed with new concepts or ideas gives a sense of pride, almost like that of a parent. Unfortunately, it seems as though education has become more about teaching for a test, limiting educators on their creativity, and they are expected to handle larger classes with smaller budgets. The more administration can do to help the teachers, the more it will end up benefiting students, such as:

  • Allow teachers to have autonomy. The constraints of testing and standardized lesson plans have taken away much of the creativity that used to go into teaching. While it may be impossible to remove this from the system, give teachers back control over their work. When lesson plans are fun and creative, students have fun while learning, ultimately retaining more information. Also, listen to teachers if there are resources they need in the classroom in order to promote learning, such as certain technologies, and try to accommodate if budget is available.
  • Encourage collaboration with educators. Nothing fuels motivation quite like being encouraged to take part in the discussion. Allow teachers to help create solutions for decisions that will ultimately affect the entire school. Create a mentoring program for new teachers to learn from those more experienced in the building. Provide educators with regular professional development so they can stay ahead of new learning trends and ideas. Teachers, counselors and other staff members work directly with students every day – let them be a part of the processes that will ultimately affect them.
  • Recognize achievements and promote respect. In any job, it becomes discouraging when employees only receive feedback on what they are doing wrong. With teaching, only hearing the negative makes it seem as though there’s not much going right. Complimenting and recognizing achievements will only help to motivate them to continue, and may encourage more creativity and ingenuity. Of course, if anything should need to be corrected, it should be done in a respectable manner, and any solutions should be realistic and achievable.

Is a Difficult Administrator Causing the Problem?

Although teachers are there for the day-to-day with students, not having the support from the leaders in administration can truly put a damper on the entire school environment. According to a veteran educator, there are four types of difficult administrators that can ruin school culture:

  • An administrator who is unrealistic and out of touch. Sometimes, those in leadership positions forget what it was like to teach in an actual classroom, and if it’s been a while, may not be familiar with new challenges teachers have to face. The biggest problem that comes from this type of administrator is the tendency to create new initiatives and expectations with little or no regard to how they work with what is already in place.
  • An administrator who knows all. As it is with any management or leadership role, a person who believes he knows everything and makes decisions without consulting others can quickly lead to friction with employees.
  • An administrator who acts more like a bully. Ultimately, this person just makes life difficult for staff, targeting anyone who speaks up or questions decisions that have been made. She may play favorites and dislike those who seem too ambitious.
  • An administrator who justifies decisions as being “for the children.” While working to make education a success for students is important, making decisions solely based on the children’s needs with no regard to educators makes teachers feel as though they are not valued. Sometimes, decisions are made and justified as being for the kids that don’t even have a direct impact on students.

Understanding What’s Happening within Your School

Getting to know what may be impacting morale around the school can be much easier than it seems. Making sure faculty and staff know they have a place to turn to with issues or concerns is the first step, but some may be too afraid to step forward or speak up in person. Utilizing a third-party, anonymous survey system can help get the answers you need to start improving the overall culture, and help educators feel they have a voice.

At HSD Metrics, we offer several survey solutions to help you improve retention and encourage a more positive atmosphere. It is important to get feedback from teachers throughout their employment cycle. Using our StartOffRight product, employers can learn if expectations are aligned, and our StayRight tool will allow employers to get feedback on their employment experiences in real-time. ExitRight® will provide much-needed employee data on why teachers would leave a school. You receive open and honest feedback from employees, as well as advanced analytics to help you solve problems in real-time.

For more information on our survey solutions, or to schedule a live demo, contact us today.