What one piece of advice would you give to school leaders to help foster a good teacher?
Great professional development that is directly linked to a self-assessment process and a comprehensive evaluation process. These should be linked to a teacher’s personal and professional goals, as well as to the goals that his or her administrator have for continued improvement. In some way, this should be tied to the school’s strategic needs. Great professional development tied to what teachers need to improve their instructional practice is essential to growth and improvement.
Listen to Ryshke discuss the importance of professional development:
Have a good sense of humor. People don’t mind working as hard if you can make them laugh. Be consistent and sincere.
Teachers need administrators that support academic freedom and keep an open mind to new practices, ideas and innovation. One of the joys of teaching is engaging your students in an ongoing, evolving practice that challenges and meets the needs of your students. As a parent, there is comfort in sending your child off to school, to a teacher that enjoys her/his practice and engages your child in learning.
Give them flexibility to wander off the beaten path. Encourage them when it’s successful, but don’t dwell when it’s not.
Listen to Breland discuss the importance of flexibility:
Involve parents as much as you can. Come down to the parent level and take off the professional hats. Have parent nights at schools to help educate the community on how to better their child’s learning.
Listen to Ullery discuss the importance of parent involvement:
Do what is necessary to get your parents involved and supportive of your classrooms. A good base of parent support helps to attract and sustain good teachers.
Listen to Rutland discuss the importance of parental support:
Hire teachers who are above average in their college class, give them flexibility to teach and reward them with above average salaries.
Listen to Starck discuss flexibility in the classroom:
For God’s sake, quit “teaching the test.” Allow your teachers to use their own skills and strengths to teach the best way they can without having to conform to a cookie-cutter mentality.
Give them help and support. Be creative with getting and maintaining good help. Appeal to your community, not just for money and time. Trust them to understand your need and let them donate help in any manner they devise.
Make clear your expectations. Then give them room to do their job.