“I think I have learned that the best way to lift one’s self up is to help someone else.”
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that teachers are incredibly resilient, resourceful, and ready to move forward. Besides working through a pandemic, whether in-class with stringent safety precautions or remotely while also dealing with personal responsibilities, teachers have proven that they are willing to make the effort. Why? There’s a lot of heart in the teaching profession. Many teachers will attest to the joy they feel from seeing their students’ eyes light up when they understand a new concept or are excited by a hands-on project. Being in a classroom, teachers are able to work closely with their students, observe how they collaborate with one another, and celebrate achievements as a group. But with what seems like the unending concerns over health and safety, learning loss and closing gaps, and the social-emotional well-being of their students, teachers need more than a “Good job!” and “Keep going!” What can school principals do so that teachers feel like they’re being seen, heard, and supported?
Topics: teacher support
Heads of schools are responsible for nurturing the entire school community — students, staff, parents, and other stakeholders. A school leader is constantly thinking of ways to improve teaching and learning, how the school functions, while boosting school morale. The ultimate goal is to create a space where everyone feels cared for, is given dignity, and feels protected. The following are books that school leaders should consider adding to their professional reading collection.
Can you believe we’re heading towards the 8-month mark of … well, you know (hint: masks, handwashing, hibernating in the summer)? Of course, this has impacted many areas of life including education. Our teachers are juggling with maintaining health and safety guidelines while providing quality instruction, regardless of the learning environment. To say that this can be a little stressful is an understatement, yet teachers are making every effort to keep their students engaged and motivated to try despite this challenging time. What does this entail? That teachers express enthusiasm and positivity to encourage their students, especially when they see them anxious or worried. This can take a toll on teachers.
Topics: teacher support
Many of you have tiptoed into the new school year, testing the waters of teaching knowing that things may change as quickly as last spring. You’re building up your confidence with teaching using different tech applications and tools, either because you are facilitating learning using a blended model or are fully engaged in remote learning. You are doing this while getting to know your students, planning and presenting curriculum, and making sure your materials are organized. In the back of your mind, you may be wondering (as most teachers do) — Am I doing all that I can for my students? Are the tools that I have available being used to the extent that they should?
Raise your hand if professional development days before the new school year are your absolute favorite? Hands still wrapped around that cup of coffee? I thought so. Even as one who used to plan and facilitate PD days, motivation for setting up the classroom outweighed the desire to review the previous year’s assessment results and goals for this year. Yes, that should be evaluated and discussed, but the anticipation of having a class full of new learners and personalities is much more exciting! This school year, many teachers are still waiting to find out how teaching and learning will happen – physical classroom, virtual classroom, blend of both? As we wait with bated breath, what teacher PD options are available for online learning?
Once upon a time, in a land not too far away (Los Angeles, CA), I once engaged in, planned and facilitated, and tried to stay awake through quite a few professional development sessions. Most were mandated and scheduled right before school started in the hopes that something would transform our practice so much that 100% of our students mastered all learning objectives in 180 instructional days. After a few weeks of school, many of us were overwhelmed and discouraged that all of those awesome strategies and techniques didn’t work with every situation, every subject, or every student. I do not envy district and school administrators tasked with the responsibility of selecting and organizing PD each year.