You may know about the three small r’s that drive student improvement: rigor, relevance, and relationships. Then there are the three Big R’s that drive teacher satisfaction: Respect, Reflection, and Resources. Following these three ideas can help bring out the best in educators and make teachers their own best advocates.
Big R #1: Respect
Teachers need to be treated like professionals, offered meaningful feedback, but allowed and encouraged to provide input of their own. They need administrators who recognize that their job is to support the learning process, not micromanage it. A little bit of appreciation goes a long way for an educator.
Some key strategies include:
- Share your wishes as opposed to your demands or expectations. For example: “I’d be appreciative of your support.”
- Model respect even when you aren’t receiving it. For example: “I’m sure your perspective is based on experience I’m not fully aware of.”
- Conflict is scary but valuable. For example: “I was hurt when you said that to me.”
- Measure success based on risk taking, not outcome. For example, “I may not have gotten what I want, but I’m proud I tried.”
Big R #2: Reflection
Teachers need to see themselves clearly in relation to others. Reflective practitioners can look inward and understand who they are and what they need. They are able to understand how their life experiences impact who they are and how they teach, able to make adjustments to better serve their clients.
Key strategies to encourage reflection include:
- Exploring resistance to learning. Consider your approach to discover what barriers are generated within a student.
- Examine attitudes about effort, behavior, and relatedness and see if you can link these to early life scripts.
- Recognize current stressors. How are they impacting your ability to be patient, attentive, and enthusiastic in your class?
- Consider professional development strategies such as reading, coaching, counseling, workshops, continuing education and other forms of growth.
Big R #3: Resources
Teachers need resources to do their jobs well. If teachers are paying for supplies, unable to connect with others who can help guide and support, or recreating the wheel because they don’t have access to tools and tips to do their jobs easier, they will use up valuable time and energy that can be spent with self-care and preparation.
How to provide the support all educators need:
- Develop resource list for professional and personal self.
- Follow a blog to stay current with trends.
- Establish emergency contacts in different key areas of work and home life.
- Encourage parents to donate time, money, and supplies to help you in the class.
- Consider partnerships with local businesses for cross polination.
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Dr. Jared Scherz is a clinical psychologist, author, and educational consultant, working with educators for over twenty years. He earned his Master’s degree in Education from Penn State University and went on to be an elementary school guidance counselor before getting his Ph.D. in psychology.
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