Anyone who has worked in a school in the past 10 to 15 years knows that teaching is more demanding than it has ever been in the past. In order to cope with these demands, teachers need to develop resilience.
Teachers face challenges ranging from crowded classrooms to cramped and outdated facilities; to higher state testing requirements; to a lack of instructional supplies and materials.
In recent years, educaton loses over half of the new teachers who enter the classroom with the first five years on the job. This has caused a crisis in many school districts across the nation. Many schools find it difficult to staff their classrooms with qualified and well-trained teachers - especially in fields like math, science and special education.
Now, having to teach during a pandemic has added new challenges to the teaching profession. These changes have required teachers to change everything about their teaching methodology in a matter of months. It is no wonder that teachers are feeling stressed and in need of support.
This is where the support of an effective school coach is essential - especially for new teachers who are already struggling to apply what they have learned in their preparation program to their own students.
Here are some tips that can help you support your teachers during these turbulent times:
The first key to helping teachers stay confident and grounded in their work is to ensure that all teachersknow that you are someone they can count on for support.
That you are there for them when they need help or advice. Stop by to check in or just to say “Hi!” as you pass by the classroom door whenever possible. This will help teachers feel that sense of being part of a team and that you are there to offer help, support and non-judgmental feedback.
Teaching can seem lonely so being able to talk to someone to on a regular basis is essential. Having the support of an instructional coach can be the difference between a teacher who feels overwhelmed and one who feels confident and capable in the classroom.
Try to find out what makes each teacher "tick." What do they like? What do they not like? Who are the members of their family and how do they spend their time.? The more you can find out about each teacher personally, the more you can build a relationship that will allow you to support each teacher's individual needs.
Help teachers focus more on what is working and where they are making a difference rather than on what is not working.
Despite all of the drawbacks that teachers face on a daily basis, teaching can be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. When asked why teachers do the work they do, they are quick to respond that their purpose is to make a difference in the life of a child.
Teachers say that it is the smiles, hugs and high fives from their students that keep them going on a daily basis. For many new teachers, the school coach has become the vital link to help them maintain their sense of optimism and purpose. Reminding them about their special "why" for becoming a teacher and help them re-center themselves when they are feeling powerless.
Help teachers understand that every teacher, including you, has lessons that don’t work or plans that didn’t go as they thought they would. It happens.
We forgive ourselves, learn from our mistakes and life goes on. It is just part of what happens in teaching. Resilient teachers reflect on their work and try a different approach when things don’t go as planned. They avoid getting frustrated or overwhelmed.
Finally, resilient teachers know how to put challenges into perspective and to laugh at themselves when needed.
As their coach, remind them to concentrate on having fun with their students and to begin each day with the same positive optimism that they had on the first day of class.
Things don't always go to plan so we must remain flexible and keep our eye on what is best for the students we serve.
Challenges, like teaching during a pandemic, will come and go but good teachers are there for the long haul to make a difference in the lives of their students.