One of a principal's primary responsibilities is to motivate teachers to hone their teaching skills, so they provide the best education possible. As a principal, your leadership and motivation help teachers come up with creative, inspiring lesson plans to meet state curriculum standards. You encourage teachers to use technology in innovative ways by providing the resources they need and by offering continuing education opportunities. Your goal is to support and empower qualified, effective teachers, so they want to stay at your school for a long time.
Build Strong Principal-Teacher Relationships
Teachers need to know that you're looking out for them and trust them to fulfill their responsibilities. Detail your goals and vision and then let them do their jobs, without micromanaging their classrooms. The goal is to create a school culture where you and your teachers trust one another and work together to accomplish goals, according to Edutopia, an education site for K-12 educators sponsored by movie producer and education advocate, George Lucas. Offer feedback on a consistent basis, focusing more on teachers' positive qualities than their weaknesses. "For principals to keep their top teachers, they need to create a dialogue around school change that encourages equity of voice and a sense of ownership and empowerment for everyone on staff," writes Allison Frieze, a special-education teacher at a D.C. public charter school, in her 2012 article in "The Washington Post."
Prioritize Continuing Education Opportunities
Make training and continuing education opportunities a priority. Give teachers paid time off to attend educational seminars and earn continuing education credits. Hire professionals to train your teachers on how to use new computers, updated software programs and advanced white board applications. Gear instructional times to help both new teachers and experienced educators with their classroom projects and goals. When principals don't provide opportunities for teachers to improve, students lose out and schools often lose effective teachers. "It's a fatal leadership decision," says Frieze.
Show Teachers You Care About Them
Show teachers that you care by offering small perks to the job. You might not have a large budget to invest in teacher rewards, but a few small perks help lighten the load. You might have casual days once a week when teachers can wear jeans and T-shirts to school, or you might bring doughnuts to work once a week. Put thank you notes in teachers' school mailboxes every quarter and host a pizza-and-game night at your house once or twice a year. These thoughtful gestures motivate teachers to work hard and remind them how much you care.
Support Teachers' Disciplinary Decisions
A strategic way to motivate your teachers is to support their classroom disciplinary decisions. As long as the teachers' disciplinary techniques are firm, fair and consistent and don't violate school policies, you should back their decisions. This is especially important when parents get involved and try to argue with a teacher concerning his classroom management style. A teacher needs to know that his principal is his loyal advocate and will stand in his corner, even if a parent or student disagrees with his decision.
- The Washington Post: How Schools Can Keep Their Best Teachers
- Education World: Motivating Teachers: Principals Share This Year’s Best Ideas; September 2014
- Edutopia: How Principals Can Grow Teacher Excellence
- National Association of Elementary School Principals: How Effective Principals Encourage Their Teachers
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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