In today’s world, being a teacher is an incredible challenge. Beyond the day to day of teaching and marking, teachers are faced with students with behavioral or family issues, learning disabilities, and more. As a school administrator, keeping your teachers motivated is one of your most important roles. Here are ten tips to keep your teachers motivated throughout the school year!
1. Make yourself available
Your role as a school administrator is to make your teachers’ lives easier so that they can teach and your students can learn. Help your teachers as much as possible when they have a heavier workload. Consider asking your teachers what they need help with before jumping in, so that they do not feel like you are micromanaging. Make sure to also help your teachers through monotonous tasks with software tools.
2. Publicly praise teachers
If a teacher feels valued, you won’t need to worry about motivating them. These teachers will know how to stay motivated. Making each teacher feel valued can be as simple as including an announcement in the morning thanking the teacher for something that they have done recently. You can also make this a larger gesture by organizing a staff lunch in which you personally thank teachers for outstanding contributions to the school.
3. Encourage teachers to reward each other
Create a teaching trophy that is given out at the end of each day, week, or month. This can be awarded for excellent teaching, or going above and beyond in activities outside the classroom. Have the last winner select the winner of the next award. This provides your teachers with an incentive to excel and also gets them used to accepting feedback from each other.
4. Leave some room in the budget for small gifts
Consider purchasing something small, like coffee shop gift cards, that you can give to teachers who go above and beyond. For example, If a teacher volunteers to take an extra supervisory shift, make sure that they know that their work is appreciated with a small gift. Your teachers will appreciate the extra coffee!
5. Encourage teachers to seek out professional development opportunities
You should offer professional development for the teachers within your school, but also provide opportunities for each teacher to learn outside the school. This could include conferences, workshops, or specialized professional development offered at the district level. Approve all reasonable requests. Make sure that you are also keeping an eye out for new opportunities, and presenting these to all teachers at staff meetings.
6. Provide opportunities to take breaks
Consider giving each teacher a form that can be used for a morning or afternoon off, no questions asked. This can be given out once a semester but must be given to you in advance, so that someone can be found to cover the class. This is a small action that doesn’t cost you much but lets your teacher know that you care about them and will go out of your way to make sure that they are happy.
7. Give teachers a voice
Being left out of an important decision that affects them is the easiest way for a teacher to lose motivation. Many teachers would love to be involved in these decisions if you gave them the opportunity. Invite a teacher from each grade to be a representative during board meetings to get their opinion and learn about their proposed strategies. Also consider holding “open-door” meetings, where every teacher has the option to attend and listen during meetings, even if they are not directly involved.
8. Empower each teacher’s strengths
Every teacher has strengths and weaknesses. When teachers are able to use that strength in the classroom, it’s easy to see how much more engaged and inspired students become. It may be difficult for some teachers to recognize their own strengths, especially while trying to keep up with curriculum standards. To help them figure out what works in their classroom, have each teacher think about any particular lessons that worked really well, and any tools or techniques that the teacher likes to use, such as incorporating music into a lesson.
9. Recognize key stress times
Don’t overload teachers with professional development during report card season! Avoid new initiatives and stresses during the end of the term, report-writing periods, or while teachers are marking exams. If there’s any way you can lend a hand during these times, whether it’s taking on some of the work yourself, or covering a teacher’s lunch supervision shift, make sure to do so!
10. Encourage collaboration
Having your teachers work together can significantly impact their motivation. More experienced teachers will be recognized for their best teaching strategies. Younger teachers will be given validation that they things that they are trying are actually working. Consider creating professional learning communities within your school to create a more formal structure for collaboration.
Keeping your teachers motivated can be a challenge. But it is an essential part of your students’ overall success. Great teachers are those that are motivated to excel and take pride in their students’ success both inside and outside the classroom. Take the time to experiment with some of these tips to find what works best in your school!