There are going to be times when your educators need you…in a big way. As I read somewhere, “everyone always has something going on” and sometimes people get lost. Difficulties with students, families, personal concerns, health, the weather…whatever, sometimes it gets lumped together into one big mess and your teachers look to you for help.
In those moments it can be darn hard to figure out what to tackle first. The biggest thing is to be a listener (great article on Dialogic Leadership), but beyond that there are things that need to be done.
When this happens to me I look at three things for the teacher:
- Relief – This person needs some level of relief and they need it quick. With relief comes the ability to step back and look at things. Depending on the situation and needs this will look differently, but providing some level of relief immediately helps the teacher know that you are their to help and that you’ve got their back. It also opens them up for the other two points!
- Success – They need to feel success, quickly. If the teacher is having difficulties with a student or students you need to help formulate a plan that’s going to help the teacher and the student(s) feel success again. If this waits too long perspectives get dismal pretty quick. Negativity enters the picture and the longer it stays the harder it is to get it moving out of the way!
- Skills – This is often the overlooked part of the “helping right away” plan. This is truly tough for some folks to get, but once you’ve provided relief and some level of success, there has to be a plan for the teacher to gain some new skills…a different way of approaching whatever it is that got them to this point. This may be new management strategies, skills that help them communicate with parents or colleagues or a different way of connecting with students. Whatever the case is, my job is to help them a.) recognize that they have some learning to do and b.) that we’re going to be there to help them do it. Many people get stuck with steps 1 and 2 and think that others are going to take those problems on for them. This does nothing to move your organization or that teacher forward.