Schools Supporting Teachers

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How schools can work with and for teachers to optimize environments for teaching and learning. PPT from 1-hour session at the 2010 National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference titled "The Intentional Teacher: Better Teaching Through School-Teacher Dialogue." Supplementary resources include the book THE INTENTIONAL TEACHER: FORGING A GREAT CAREER IN THE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL CLASSROOM by Peter Gow (Avocus, 2009)

Text of Schools Supporting Teachers

  • 1. The Intentional Teacher Better Teaching Through School-Teacher Dialogue Peter Gow * NAIS 2010
  • 2. WHY?
    • Your faculty is your most important resource
    • Every teacher deserves to be given the chance to be the best s/he can be
    • Every school should strive to be the best possible environment for teachers success and growth
    • Effective teaching and satisfied teachers combine as your #1 marketing force (plus, its like, yknow, good for kids)
    • The best teachers want to be involved
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 3. TALK IS A GOOD IDEA
    • Good relationships thrive on dialogue
    • Being a (Professional) Learning Community or just a damn good place for kids to learn and adults to grow requires lots of talk
    • Schools need to be places where teachers know how to converse about teaching and learningespecially as we strive toward 21st-century goals
    • Schools must be places where leaders and teachers communicate clearly and honestly across boundaries of experience, culture, and expectation
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 4. RECRUITING & HIRING
    • Be clear about what you want and about who succeeds at your school: build a Recruiting Case
    • Create materials that provide a thorough and accurate picture of what it means to be a teacher at your schoolinformed consent
    • Give candidates the chance to put their best foot forward (and a chance to look around on their own)
    • Candidates should meet supervisors, colleagues, students
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 5. INDUCTION & ORIENTATION
    • Differentiate orientation and mentoring based on a careful assessment of new teacher strengths and needs
    • New means new to your schooldont assume too much about experienced hands
    • School culture should be a focus of orientation
    • Build a Culture of Mentoringinvest and engage all faculty and administrators in supporting new teachers
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 6. CLARIFY SCHOOL STANDARDS
    • What does it mean to do well in your school?
    • What does it mean to be good in your school?
    • What do students expect in the way of feedback and guidance?
    • What are the behavioral norms in your classrooms and around the school?
    • What rules absolutely, positively matter?
    • What are the expectations for professional behavior?
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 7. THE SUPPORTIVE CLASSROOM
    • Give your new teachers feedback on their work from Day One: lesson plans, curriculum, assessment strategies, management
    • (Feedback is not evaluation)
    • Create support networks for new teachers
    • Build new teacher cohorts into mutual support groups
    • (And the Supportive Dorm, Advisor Group, Team, Club; make sure teachers know whence cometh their help)
    • Mantra: Youre never alone here!
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 8. WHOs IN CHARGE HERE?
    • Clarify roles, hierarchies, chains of command
    • Its all very well to be a flat organization, but newcomers may have a hard time seeing the critical features in a two-dimensional world
    • Make time for new teachers to meet with supervisors, to ask questions, to seek feedback on non-teaching aspects of their jobs
    • (And build into the culture the idea of doing this throughout a career)
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 9. MIND THE GAPS
    • Think about what you would want your faculty to know and understand collectively
    • Think deep background and daily practice (child development and rubric design)
    • Then build professional development programs to deliver this knowledge and skill base to teachers throughout their careers
    • Take an institutional approach to strategic change; bring everyone along as if the school depended on it
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 10. HEAR THE PEOPLE
    • Make it possible for good ideas to percolate upwards; reward innovation and positive participation in whatever ways you can (yes, that includes )
    • Make sure that benefit programs are responsive to the people you have, by ages and stages
    • Sometimes its just February, but sometimes its real: dont pretend that grumpiness will go away of its own accordaddress issues as they arise
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 11. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
    • Ask and involve
    • Dont make assumptions about what people dont want
    • Transparency in the development and execution of strategic directions is a good thing; allow window shopping and invite people into the store
    • Dont stop talking to senior people; dont rely on second-hand assessments of their interests, behavior, and efficacy
    • (The same goes for more junior people)
    • (Make sure you have a plan for who does the talking)
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 12. EVALUATE FOR GROWTH
    • Professional evaluation should be a dialogue
      • About goalsindividual and institutional
      • About observed behavior and practice
      • About expectations
      • About long-term plans and growth
    • Evaluationthat is, the dialogue about professional effectiveness and goalsshould never end (even if your system goes a bit easier on the senior folk)
    • Build in goal-setting and growth planning
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 13. PEOPLE ARE REAL
    • And so are the personal issues they face
      • Professional highs and lows
      • Personal challenges
        • Relationships
        • Aging parents
        • Children
        • Crises of siblings and close friends
        • Health
    • Invite people to talkbe proactive, open, supportive
    • Anticipate needs related to life challenges; consider EAPS and ways to ease access to leaves, sabbaticals
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 14. Movement is healthy
    • Dont be afraid to talk with teachers about moving on
      • When their efficacy is dwindling and you have already addressed this directly
      • When their happiness is in question and they need encouragement to consider change
      • When they have outgrown your school and the opportunities it offers
    • Address these issues before they reach a critical point
    • Celebrate good changehappy folks headed to bigger or better things reflect well on your school
    NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow
  • 15. Resources NAIS 2010 Intentional Teacher/P. Gow Peter Gow, The Intentional Teacher: Forging A Great Career In the Independent School Classroom (Avocus Publishing, 2009) A Teachers Guide to Life and Work (from Beaver Country Day School). Link at http://www.bcdschool. org/podium/default.aspx?t=111614 Susan Rosenholtz, Teachers Workplace: The Social Organization of Schools (Teachers College Press, 1991) James Tracy, ed . A Guidebook to the NAIS Principles of Good Practic