We all know that stereotypes can be harmful and promote ignorance, but some stereotypes have truth to them. While not every American loves McDonald’s, and not every English major texts with perfect grammar (sadly, we’re guilty of both), the stereotypes around teaching can be surprisingly accurate.
Teaching is a challenging, sometimes thankless job, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Administrators can flip the stereotypes on their heads and make their schools a place where teachers feel supported, valued, and cared for by:
- Recognizing them for their work
- Offering development opportunities
- Listening to their ideas
- Being open with communication
- Trusting them
And yes, we understand that the budget is always a concern, but many of these ideas don’t cost a cent.
Recognize Teachers for Their Work
Sometimes, a genuine thank you is all a teacher needs to brighten their day, and this type of recognition is completely free. Easy recognition comes in other shapes and sizes, too:
- Handwritten note thanking a teacher for their efforts
- One-on-one conversation expressing appreciation
- Personalized gift for a teacher’s birthday or life event
Don’t stop with these casual, day-to-day recognitions, though. Another great way to show your appreciation is to celebrate them during Teacher Appreciation Week, holidays, and each teacher’s service anniversary. Give out gifts that are meaningful and personalized, and maybe give a public shoutout during meetings to teachers who go above and beyond.
Pro tip: With Awardco, you can easily and affordably recognize your teachers at any time. Plus, with our Reward Compensation feature, you can use your existing budget to make rewards and recognition more effective and far-reaching.
Offer Growth and Development Opportunities
Teachers are in the business of learning, so they naturally want to learn and develop themselves. No one likes to feel like they’re in a dead-end job, after all. As an administrator, you can help your teachers get access to classes, workshops, or even support groups that will help them learn and grow.
As you show them that you care about their development, teachers will develop not only new and improved skills and abilities, but the motivation to implement those skills in the classroom.
Ask for Their Ideas and Perspectives—Then Listen
Teachers are on the front lines each and every day; they see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to daily education far better than any administrator. You can utilize their knowledge and expertise by asking them their opinions about everything from the students’ workload to parent-teacher conferences to the snacks in the faculty lounge. Anything that affects the educational experience.
Then, once you know how teachers would like to do things or changes they’d like to see, figure out if you can implement any of their ideas. We know that not everything will be possible, but you’ll get a whole lot of happy teachers if they see some of their suggestions come to fruition.
Be Honest, Transparent, and Timely About Everything
This one is simple: just tell the truth about everything going on in your school. Whether you’ve had to change a policy, make a budget cut, or replace the carpet, let your teachers know the what, why, and how. Teachers may not always agree with everything that administrators do, but when administrators are transparent, teachers will at least be understanding and accepting.
For more run-of-the-mill communication, make sure to be timely and helpful. Ensure all of your teachers get the information they need (such as for assemblies or meetings) when they need it. And for sensitive information, make sure you know who needs to be told and by whom.
As the final tip, this is probably the most important. Show that you trust your teachers to do their jobs right. If parents come to you with a complaint, don’t immediately jump to their side; talk with the teacher and get the whole story first. Also, trust that teachers know what their students need and will provide for them. Don’t micromanage and, where possible, let your staff personalize their teaching so that both they and their students thrive.
Teachers need support now more than ever.
Teachers are suffering burnout more than any other type of worker, with nearly half of them reporting feeling “always” or “very often” burned out. Their job is hard. But you don’t have to magically give them all raises or unlimited PTO to make their lives easier—all it really takes is some genuine appreciation and care—otherwise known as employee recognition.