Teachers need to know they are appreciated and valued by students, parents, and administration. Teachers don’t get yearly bonuses at the holidays or when 80% of their class passes an assessment. Most teachers don’t teach in state-of-the-art classrooms that are climate controlled. Many teachers are still paying off the student loans they needed to take out in order to get the degree and certification needed to become a teacher. That’s okay. We knew what we were getting into.
From my perspective, these are some of the ways to support teachers to retain high-quality, passionate educators and avoid teacher burnout:
- Let the teachers know you appreciate them–and by “you,” I mean parents, students, principals, superintendents, board of education members, and even colleagues. Be specific and genuine.
- Give teachers a break–and by “a break,” I mean when a single assessment comes back with less than desirable results, don’t assume anything. Whether you’re a parent or administrator, talk to that teacher about what that day looked like. Chances are, there is a reason why 80% of the students weren’t at greater than 80% mastery.
- Keep teachers in the know–and by “in the know,” I mean professional development. Would you want to go to a doctor who graduated from medical school 25 years ago and hadn’t received any updated medical training since? Once teachers graduate from college and get a job, it is a district’s responsibility to continue to support and educate them on current research-based instruction that will positively impact student learning.
We, the teachers, also need to remember why we got into this profession. We love children, but that’s obvious. I became an educator because I want our children to have a better world. I want our children to have a love of reading that I didn’t have growing up. I want our children to know they are loved, cared for and valued in our society. I want our children to be able to make educated, informed decisions as they lead their lives. I want our children to strive for a better world for those that come after them.
Ask yourself: Why did YOU become an educator and what do YOU want for our children? Chances are that your answer will help you keep the flame glowing bright.
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