10 Ways Administration Can Help Keep Teachers Happy

admin keep teachers happy cover image

Teachers simply want to feel seen and supported by their administration. But how can administration do that? What steps can they actively take to truly nurture their faculty? Below are ten ways that administration can keep teachers happy.

1. Be present and available. 

We love it when you leave your door open so we can pop on in if a problem arises. Teachers understand that principals have their plates full, but we do too. We love to have your undivided attention if we need to speak to you for a hot second.

2. Listen to your faculty and their feedback. 

We are on the front lines every day and we see EVERYTHING. We don’t bring up problems for no reason. We bring up problems so we can find solutions. We love to feel like part of a team by giving feedback and making our programs/school better.

3. Give teachers the gift of time. 

You don’t have to schedule meetings every free second we get. Please trust us as professionals to do school-related things during unscheduled amounts of time. You can rest assured that we are using that time to collaborate, grade, and plan. 

4. Support teachers and their ever-evolving needs (whatever that may be). 

If you see a teacher having an incredibly rough day, offer to step in and watch their class. If a teacher tells you he or she needs you to take on an incredibly aggressive parent, step in, no questions asked.

5. Be empathetic to both personal and professional woes. 

It’s important that administration view their faculty as more than just the worker bees they are at school. We love our job, but we also love our families and home lives. A simple “How are you doing?” during a tough personal time or a “How was Ethan’s soccer game?” will let us know that you care about our families and our well-being outside of just being a teacher.

6. Encourage growth for all teachers (newbies and veterans alike).

Professional growth looks a lot different in education than in other careers. There is not much room for “climbing the ladder” – you are either a teacher or you make the jump into administration. Administration should do their best to meet teachers where they are at. Got several new teachers? Don’t just throw them in the deep end! They will need lots of guidance and reassurance within the first couple of years. Have a veteran teacher? Make them a mentor teacher or carve out a leadership position that aligns best with their strengths. We all want to grow in this career. We’d love for administration to help in any way they can!

7. Lend a hand when need be. 

If we are setting up for an event or if you see someone need help, chip in! We appreciate administration who like to get their hands dirty every once in a while.

8. Don’t pile on unnecessary work (especially at the end of the year). 

“Admin has decided that they need a curriculum map from scratch for every discipline, minimum of six pages in ten-point font by tomorrow”. We all have enough paperwork and grading to do besides, you know, teaching all day. Adding on data-accumulation assignments is just a giant pain in our butts.

9. Know when to intervene with parents. 

We are happy to go back and forth with an irate parent for a few emails, but we have lots of other students to attend to. If a problem escalates and we reach out to you for some assistance, please know that we really need your help. We wouldn’t ask if we didn’t think your experience in dealing with situations like this was necessary.

10. Provide professional development opportunities that are useful.

A teacher’s time is precious. Of course, we understand the need for improving ourselves and continuing to learn new ways to become better educators. But if we’re going to spend any time outside of our very busy schedules, it needs to be spent efficiently and be effective. Don’t organize ice-breakers and team-building activities just to fill the time slot. We should be taking advantage of every precious second of every precious minute we get together to truly improve ourselves. Otherwise, leave us the time for self-care so we don’t burn out.

Keep teachers happy

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Abigail Courter is a fifth year music teacher at a K-8 private school in California.  She has taught general music, band, music technology, and performing arts.

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