The last five weeks have been a blur for many of us! Days have flown by as we engage in meetings and planning activities to ensure student needs are met and plans are in place to get learning back underway. For many teachers anxiety is high as they learn new skills to both create materials and deliver online instruction. This new reality has even veteran teachers feeling anxious wondering if things are going to work and how their students will respond. In addition, many educators are struggling to manage their own children and their learning schedules as they resume a full workload.
Stress is high in the field and your staff definitely needs your support. These social media posts are representative of many comments I have seen from Michigan teachers. Many of you will recognize @WonderTeach is Michigan’s Teacher of the Year Cara Lougheed.
What can we do to support our teachers?
- Protect them from any unnecessary tasks or requirements.
- Streamline and condense communications.
- Be empathetic when presented with a problem and work collaboratively with the teacher to find solutions.
- Don’t add more requirements and pile on additional work. If a change has to be made, be clear about the reason.
- Genuinely offer your help and support (repeat the offer often).
If you are feeling like a broken record asking staff, “How are you doing” this article by Elizabth Weingarten gives you 20 alternate questions to ask.
This is the time to give teachers grace and flexibility. It is a great opportunity to model what you would want to see in the way they treat and support their students. Praise and acknowledge effort, small victories and strides in the right direction. Teachers need to hear from their building administrators that they are doing a good job and that it is enough...You’ve got this- I believe in you- You’ve done so much- You are enough.
Written by Wendy Zdeb, MASSP Executive Director