http://joshshipp.com/7-things/ (This article inspired today’s post.) If you are a teacher, You should take a moment and read it as well. )
As a teacher, I always wanted to know that what I was doing was on target, worthy of recognition, or out in left field. The days and years that I didn’t get feedback were days I felt unaccomplished, unappreciated, and moot. These were the days that I didn’t feel like I was in the right career. So, I as a new instructional specialist, on a new campus with a new administration team, we have made it our mission to make sure all our teachers hear these 7 phrases as frequently as possible.
Here are 7 things that every teacher needs to hear, regardless of their years as a teacher.
1. You are doing a great job with _____________.
It is very important that teachers hear that they are doing a great job. Not just a simple, ‘good job,’ but specifically what they are doing that is a great job. This can be done with a simple post it note, a card, or even verbally letting them know. This small gesture lets teachers know they are making the school a better place and helping the school and students more successful.
2. I really like seeing _______________ happening in your classroom.
I have been an instructional specialist/coach for a very short time, but in this time I have been able to step into all classrooms. It has been a privilege to step into classrooms where students are more eager to answer questions, students collaborating and following all expectations and procedures because of their excited and positive teachers. This is just the first week of school! I want this energy to keep flowing.
3. Thank you for your _____.
In all my years, as a teacher, I hardly ever heard this from administration. I am a very intrinsically motivated person, but if I weren’t, I think this phrase would have motivated me to keep giving to my peers and student, sharing ideas and materials, helping in other areas besides my classroom and participating in duties I wasn’t being paid for.
4. I’m sorry.
Admitting a mistake or sympathizing with teachers goes a long way. Letting them know that you understand and that you are sorry for the mistake, miscommunication or change in plans is a very smart thing. Apologizing for these humanly errors is a very strong way to get everyone on the same playing field. It is not You vs. them, it is not Administration vs. teachers- we are all in the trenches together, and we have all made mistakes. We should all be humble enough to understand that we are not perfect and nobody should be held at that standard.
5. You’ve got this.
It is important for teachers to know that you believe in their abilities. They have been trained, I know they continue to study new pedagogy and management techniques. It is important that they know you believe in them or they will not believe in themselves. Some times allowing teachers to fail on their own and discover their strengths/weaknesses places the power within the teacher. This power, this belief in them will take their class further than they ever thought.
6. This is the expectation.
Clear and straight forward- ‘This is the expectation. This is what we expect to see when entering your classroom.’ Giving teachers exact expectations, check lists, due dates, and directions allow them to reach those expectations. This clear communication puts every teacher on the same page.
7. I am here to help and support you and your students.
There was a time that I was ready to throw in the towel. A colleague said this to me, and it changed everything. I don’t remember if I even used their help, but just knowing that the support and help was there made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It made me feel like if I fell, there would be someone there to help me.
I hope these have been phrases you have heard. I hope these phrases are ones that help your campus move towards your goals. I believe teachers have a very difficult task at hand, and it is important we give them as much feedback as possible.