Thursday, August 30, 2018

5 Alternatives to Asking New Teachers How They’re Doing

How are you?  How are you doing?  How’s it going?  How’s the job?  How are you liking the job?  These questions don’t help new teachers. The reason is simple. They don’t convey that you sincerely want to know how they’re doing, and they really don’t make teachers feel safe enough to tell you their cold, hard truth.  In short, we'll always be told, "I'm fine", and that's not what we need to hear.

The fact is this. Every new teacher in your building, even veterans in the profession, are struggling with something whether they want to admit it or not. The reason you don’t know what they’re struggling with is because they don’t know you well enough to tell you what holds them back, and perhaps, we may not really want to know the truth.

So what can leaders do that will identify our teachers' needs, and let them know they can trust us.

Instead, ask these 5 Questions.
  1. What is one thing that is really hard for you to get accomplished right now?
  2. What words, acronyms, or catch phrases do we use in our school that you need more information, clarification, or explanation?
  3. What is one thing that is elevating your stress level right now?
  4. What is one thing you wish we had prepared you for in our new teacher orientation?
  5. What is a support you had in your old school or that you’ve seen before that you wish we had here?
#DoubleDogDare Question 
What is one thing I do or say that is really confusing you or even frustrating to you?

New teachers aren’t always "doing good". They are struggling with something that returning teachers aren't necessarily struggling with. Our job as leaders is to close their gap as fast as possible and remember that superficial “how’s it going” questions just wont cut it. If our number one priority is to ensure that every teacher finds their excellence, then we must move transform the helplessness of “how are you” into the service of “how can I better help you”.

Drop a comment with a question that you ask your new teachers.

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