Henry Van Dyke said about teachers and teaching profession-“Ah! There you have the worst paid and the best rewarded of vocations. Do not enter it unless you love it” and if one loves it, one very well has it in them to be become that teacher which the renowned Henry Adams wrote: “ A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
It is impossible for any person to forget his school teachers. We may not remember all of them but there are always those few whom we will definitely love to recall. So the role a teacher plays is one of extreme importance and transcends any other perceivable role. Teachers are the students extended family and today, with the changing work dynamics, children mostly spend more time with teachers than their parents.
So teachers are the real treasure of the school. How the management of the school keeps their teachers empowered and inspired is therefore of prime importance. Following are some of the ways a school can implement to keep their teachers happy:
1. Handling Stress: Like any other profession, teachers are prone to de-motivation and stress stemming out of a variety of situations. . They constantly need to fill their inner reservoirs and remind themselves of their true value and uplift their sagging spirit. This valuable time to recoup and come back with renewed enthusiasm must be provided for every teacher by the school management time and again.
2. Appreciation: Pupils, parents, fellow teachers and school management should extend words of appreciation or acknowledge any good work done by the teachers. Notes, flowers or a few kind word during PTA or school assembly can work wonders in keeping the teachers motivated all the time. Why wait for Teacher’s day?
3. Positive Work-Environment: School administrators should try and create healthy work environment for the teaching staff in terms of cutting down unnecessary paperwork, limiting the number of staff meetings and streamlining procedures. Teaching is a highly creative and challenging job and favorable school climate is a must for the teacher to deliver the best results.
4. Teaching can be Fun! : School administrators can learn from corporations who regularly run “employee engagement activities” to keep their staff happy and productive. They can contact local restaurant, shopping malls, movie theatres, gift shops etc to arrange for gifts, gift certificates, tickets or discount coupons that can be used as special prizes for teachers who volunteer their time or who go an extra mile. They can arrange for cards to teachers to welcome them back after an illness, celebrate a birthday or any other important event. Another good idea is to select a “Teacher of The Month” or have a Wall of Fame for outstanding teachers like“The Maths Magician” “The Wizard of Science” or the “Geography Guru”
5. Induction and Mentor/Buddy Support: Welcome plan to induct new teachers to teaching culture so that they don’t just “sink or swim”; but are paired with mentors who demonstrate the ropes of the craft.
6. Shared Governance: Some research shows that when principals effectively used shared governance strategies and participatory management, teachers felt energized and motivated, and their sense of ownership and empowerment increased.
7. CPDs: Comprehensive Professional development Plans to ensure scaling up teachers competency for curriculum understanding and delivery, use of new technical tools, career goals and professional mapping, training workshops for sustained effectiveness.
8. Teacher Evaluation: A robust evaluation system to direct the teachers on the path towards professional growth and improvement. This should include using multiple and varied sources such as student and parent surveys, peer review of materials, logs of professional activity, and pupil test-score data.
9. PIP: Performance Improvement Plan means shaping a system that recognizes and takes prompt action to remedy under-performance. Care should be taken to ensure no blame game or harsh decisions are taken in haste and steps should be taken to examine what accounts for a teacher’s under performance and both professional and psychological support should be granted to help them come up the learning curve.
10. Rewards & Recognitions: Bonuses, Incentives, rewards for performances along with periodic appraisal policies should be implemented to encourage high level of commitment and retention. Although teaching is one profession which is primarily driven by passion and act of service yet monitory rewards can also be utilized for optimum results.
Inspired and empowered teachers teach more than just the syllabus. They get their students to think and question why they’re in the classroom. When the teacher works his magic on a young mind, the world grows better.
No other work is more rewarding or important. If you could read this blog, thank a teacher…
——- Anu Sukhija