Principals shouldn't ignore these facts about new teachers or just chalk them up as a necessary evil that they all have to go through in our first year. Leaders owe it to their teachers to do something about it. After all the best way to retain new teachers is to make sure we don't kill them. Most new teachers struggle in the first weeks of school, but they shouldn't have to struggle for the rest of the year. They need campus level supports to help them overcome the stress from the beginning of school.
7 Strategies to Save Struggling Teachers
Every new teacher needs a mentor or a buddy, but it's what that mentor does for the teacher that makes the biggest difference. Great mentors take time to visit with their mentee weekly to help them overcome the obstacles from the daily grind. Effective mentors check on their mentee regularly and ensure that they have all the supports they need to succeed.
Being a member of a professional learning community that meets on a regular basis is a good thing, but being a member of a PLC that focuses on helping every teacher grow and improve is a fantastic support. Every teacher, especially ones that struggle, deserves to be on a PLC that focuses on the adult learning coupled with a mission of guaranteeing that all kids learn.
Saving Struggling teachers Takes All of Us
3. Resource ExpertIf a teacher is struggling with how to complete day-to-day tasks or how to use resources for learning, they should be provided with tour guide to develop those skills. Whether it's the gradebook, email, digital textbooks, GAFE, or some other tool that they are expected to master, schools and administrators should provide resource experts to help all teachers when they experience difficulty with these resources and the tasks associated with these tools.
4. Lesson Planning SupportSome teachers struggle with planning engaging lessons. In these situations, struggling teachers should be provided time to plan a week of lessons with a veteran teacher or administrator. This support gives struggling teachers structure and organization so that they can be more efficient with the time they spend planning for instruction.
5. Walk-throughs / Instructional RoundsWalk-throughs aren't just for administrators. They are a great strategy to help a struggling teacher in their instructional delivery. By watching another teacher deliver instruction, they can pick up new ideas to make their lessons pop. An even better activity than walk-throughs is instructional rounds because the struggling teacher can observe instruction with fellow teachers and discuss the pedagogy as well as the components of instructional effectiveness with their peers.
6. CoteachingAnother great way to learn how to deliver effective instruction is to coteach a lesson with another teacher. By preparing a lesson and teaching with a veteran teacher, a struggling teacher can gain first hand instructional experience in planning and delivery. The most beneficial aspect of coteaching can be found in the opportunity to reflect on the strengths and struggles of the lesson afterward with the coteacher. By working with an excellent teacher from the beginning to the end, struggling teachers learn the unwritten rules in designing powerful lessons.
7. Administrator TimeProbably the greatest support that struggling teachers can receive is time with their administrator. By having regularly scheduled times to visit with the principal, teachers can gain valuable experience and insight of how to make it through the difficulties that they face. The best administrators spend a lot of time serving as a sounding board for teachers as it helps teachers find their own solutions to traditional problems. Additionally, when administrators spend time with struggling teachers, they learn how to lead more effectively, support more efficiently, and respond more precisely.
Saving Struggling teachers Takes All of Us
Every teacher struggles at the beginning of their career and in the beginning of a new position in a new school, but we owe it to them to help them succeed. We mustn't forget that when a teacher struggles, their students suffer as well, and that isn't just a problem for he struggling teacher. That's a problem for the teacher who will receive those kids in the following year also. If we truly believe in the mission of meeting the needs of all kids, then we must all believe in doing our part to meet the needs of all teachers first. After all, we will meet the needs of all kids when every teacher is properly equipped with the tools and skills to meet their needs first.