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doctoral student

Ben, your perspective is

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Ben, your perspective is important and I wish more administrators would give thought to the incredibly difficult work teachers do, with little time to plan or collaborate outside of class time, and how much they would benefit from caring, supportive administrators. It has been my experience that teachers also benefit from principals who provide teachers with research, ideas, bright spots, models of success, templates, or other materials that move the necessary work forward rather than having staff spend hours reinventing the wheel. With the very limited time teachers have, they can look at other models and tweak as necessary to meet local needs.

doctoral student

Ben, your perspective is

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Ben, your perspective is important and I wish more administrators would give thought to the incredibly difficult work teachers do, with little time to plan or collaborate outside of class time, and how much they would benefit from caring, supportive administrators. It has been my experience that teachers also benefit from principals who provide teachers with research, ideas, bright spots, models of success, templates, or other materials that move the necessary work forward rather than having staff spend hours reinventing the wheel. With the very limited time teachers have, they can look at other models and tweak as necessary to meet local needs.

# 4 is vital. Teachers need

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# 4 is vital. Teachers need to know the direction the leader is going. I feel this as a new Principal. I'm listening and learning to and from teachers. They say, "tell us what to do". Sometimes I'm a little unsure, other times, im told I'm ramming it down their throats.
My feeling now is balance. You can read more about my 1st yr. here.
www.newschoolleader.com

Author, speaker, educator

You offer good information

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You offer good information and some sound advice. At the risk of sounding self-serving, there are lots of compatible fleshed out practical tips & suggestions for how administrators can support teachers in my most recent ASCD book, WHEN TEACHING GETS TOUGH: SMART WAYS TO RECLAIM YOUR GAME.

Ben, You provided me with an

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Ben,
You provided me with an interesting perspective and some advice I'd love to share with my administrators. I have taught for 13 years, but in those 13 years, I have seen 5 different principals, each with their own unique style and personality. Perhaps the biggest challenge I face when working with my current administration is lack of teaching experience. Sometimes it's difficult for my administrators to gain the "teaching perspective" because they have not had many years in the classroom and they’ve been away from it for a while. I believe all administrators should take the opportunity to "get back in the classroom". Last year, our assistant principal asked some of our staff members if he could teach a few lessons in their classes. I believe this was a valuable experience for him as it helped him remember what it's like to be in the classroom, and it helped him understand our perspective, our struggles, and our concerns.

Thanks for your thoughts!
Mandy

Kindergarten Teacher and Owner & Founder of HeidiSongs.com

This was a very insightful

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This was a very insightful article! Thank you for writing it. I particularly appreciated your comments on how valuable time is to teachers. I hope many administrators read your article.
Heidi Butkus

Community Manager at Edutopia

Excellent points, Jennifer. A

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Excellent points, Jennifer. A good friend of mine recently left her school for another for exactly those reasons.

Ben, this is a great list. Thank you for sharing it.

Blogger at Cult of Pedagogy

Ben, thank you for this post.

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Ben, thank you for this post. It's an important topic and needs more attention. I talk to teachers all the time and find that their number one complaint is lack of time, so I would put #3 and #5 at the top of my list.

Recently, I interviewed Carrie, a teacher who left the profession after 6 years, to learn about the factors that influenced her decision. Two issues seemed to be most prevalent in her growing dissatisfaction with teaching.

The first was culture -- Carrie worked in several schools and found that the relationships she formed with other teachers were the key to her day-to-day job satisfaction. In some schools, staff members barely interacted, but in others, the school culture felt like family. This made a huge difference in how it felt to come to work every day. It also influenced teachers' willingness to collaborate, solve problems together, and share strategies and ideas, which in turn make work more satisfying. In all cases, she felt that the culture was created and nurtured, for better or worse, by the administration. I don't know if school leadership programs put enough emphasis on this, but from a teacher's perspective, it's crucial.

The other factor was time. Carrie felt that every day, more and more tasks were piled onto her workload, making her feel as if no one was just letting her teach. I think this is the biggest issue teachers face right now. It doesn't matter how many great ideas or strategies or programs we introduce in schools; if teacher work time is not fiercely and systematically protected by administrators, nothing will change, and good teachers will either burn out or leave.

It's an excellent, honest, and thought-provoking interview. You can listen to it here: http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/episode02-carrie-formerteacher/

Thanks again for getting this conversation started!

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