In this article, we will focus on how principals can motivate teachers in order to achieve an optimum teaching-learning process. However, keeping your teaching staff motivated, though fundamental, is only the tip of the iceberg.
It’s widely known that the role of a school principal is multifaceted and complex to define. That is, it has many aspects and sides that relate and overlap. Most importantly, when we analyze the duties a school principal must carry out daily, we come to the conclusion that principals constitute the foundation on which everything is built at a school. They are at the very center of every decision made and each step taken towards the school’s success.
The multitasking nature of their work must always lead to the constant growth and improvement of the school as a whole. So, with the school’s success in mind, principals have the duty to do everything to make it run smoothly.
Motivated teachers lead to a school’s success
Among the many relevant tasks that a school principal must tackle daily, one that is often neglected is the motivation of teachers. Like any other work environment, a school greatly benefits from the well-being of its workers. As a result, teachers who feel supported, valued, and comfortable are bound to be invested in their work and give their best to achieve a successful teaching-learning process.
When a school principal takes the time to care about maintaining their teachers’ high morale, they feel worthy, and as a consequence, they are more likely to stay focused, and not look for more appealing job opportunities.
It’s important to stress the fact that a principal who makes the effort to foster a collaborative culture and a healthy school climate will be on the right track towards the attainment of an efficient educational project.
To sum up, we could strongly affirm that taking care of teachers is a win-win for both the school and the students. Next, we will take a look at several ways principals can motivate the teaching staff.
Discover more good principal skills by checking out the blog article.
8 ways principals can motivate teachers
How principals can be available to teachers
Being approachable and open to communication is fundamental for principals who want to be there for their teaching staff. So, in order to foster a positive environment where teachers feel allowed to express and discuss their daily troubles, principals must make sure to:
- Talk to teachers and find out what worries them. It will definitely help create an atmosphere of empathy and trust.
- Show genuine interest for their concerns. It will go a long way towards the solving of any problem that may come up.
- Listen carefully and answer honestly to their queries. It can prove an effective way to help them feel comfortable and cared for.
- However, an open door policy would be counterproductive, so it is advisable to schedule office hours for teachers to reach out when they need to.
Certainly, a bona fide welcoming and accessible attitude can be the first step for principals to motivate teachers and create a steady support system for them.
How principals can praise educators
Praise is always effective in recognizing someone’s good work so they know their efforts do not go unnoticed. A compliment can contribute to build a teacher’s confidence and make them feel reassured of the quality of their work. Both a public gesture and private praise are equally important. However, generally, a public compliment tends to be more satisfactory for the recipient.
Principals can motivate teachers by praising the ones who consistently go above and beyond:
- In faculty meetings;
- Making a public announcement;
- Sending a group email;
- In the school newsletter;
- “Thank you” breakfasts or lunches for really important contributions.
Creating a positive culture where everyone benefits is very important for a school. Giving compliments or expressing gratitude contributes to the well-being of teachers, who are given a boost, and, consequently, their moods are lifted in a way that encourages them to work even harder.
How principals can support the teaching staff
Parent-teacher meetings may give rise to conflicts. Also, many teachers feel these meetings are a heavy load. Taking these facts into account, the principal can act as a support system.
Principals can help lift some load off the shoulders of the teaching staff by supporting their actions when managing a specific situation. In case the teacher’s strategies are wrong, it is advisable to discuss the matter privately, not in front of parents. Creating a united front where the principal has the backs of their teachers helps to build a climate of trust.
When a teacher feels supported and understood, they are invested in doing the best job possible when it comes to resolving parent-teacher conflicts.
How principals can help stressed teachers
There are periods of time in the school year when teachers’ workload increases (such as exams, report card season, etc). These are key times when they are busier and more stressed. This can be a perfect time in which principals can help motivate teachers.
During these times principals can, in many ways, motivate the teaching staff by making things less difficult and lend a hand. For Instance:
- Reduce the amount of paperwork.
- Shorten meetings or have meetings only when absolutely necessary.
- Help grade papers.
- Cover a teacher’s shift.
- Have coffee and donuts in the teachers’ lounge.
- Show empathy and gratitude.
Surely, these tips will go a long way towards providing teachers with a less stressful environment in which to perform their tasks to perfection.
How principals can keep the staff updated
Principals must be aware that well-prepared and effective teachers are a fundamental asset for the attainment of a school’s ultimate goal: the increasing of student achievement.
Daily, teachers must face new students’ learning challenges. In order to address those issues effectively, they need to constantly expand their skills and deepen their knowledge as educators.
In order to be able to develop their professional skills, teachers need current information about how to improve their performance in class. On that front, principals can assist:
- Offering useful guidance and recommendations about courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, etc.
- Sharing current information about these opportunities via email or in staff meetings.
Moreover, if teachers must travel to attend courses, seminars, or workshops outside their town, principals can even:
- Approve their travel;
- Offer financial assistance;
- Arrange for substitutes to cover their shifts.
Needless to say that a school leader worthy of praise is one who is alert to how education progresses and wants to keep their teaching staff motivated and up-to-date.
How principals can include teachers
Strategic planning is essential when it comes to the proper functioning of a school at all levels. This means that school leaders determine objectives and goals and develop a plan to achieve them. This process involves discussions, decisions, evaluation of progress, and changing approaches about:
- School policy;
- Special events;
- New initiatives;
Naturally, some of these points affect teachers directly. So, an efficient way to keep teachers involved and invested in their job is to include them when making those decisions.
Consequently, when a principal includes the teaching staff in strategic planning, as a result, they have the chance to:
- Engage themselves;
- Offer input;
- Share ideas;
- Propose new initiatives and projects;
- Provide guidance from a frontline position.
Undoubtedly, teachers’ contributions may prove a rich source from which to gather precious information that principals can use wisely to run the school.
In conclusion, keeping them included means keeping them invested and focused, as their professional interests are at stake.
How principals can bond with teachers
An excellent way to know the teaching staff on a personal level is by organizing informal gatherings outside of school. We must take into account that a principal highly contributes to a positive school climate when they take the time to schedule and plan these special events.
Principals may help motivate teachers by creating bonds and establishing stronger relationships. In order to do this, it is important to share and ask for information about personal life, without being intrusive, if possible.
Moreover, teachers who feel comfortable and confident prove to be more productive and effective in their workplace. Therefore, the motivation to achieve excellence increases exponentially when they feel they can rely on each other and their principal. This way, the teaching staff, and the principal can form a close-knit team that works together to accomplish a shared ultimate goal: a successful school.
How principals can mentor their educators
For some principals, both motivating teachers and being a mentor to them is not always a priority. To tackle this task, a principal must be constantly learning in order to be prepared and well informed. They must stay up-to-date regarding new educational theories and innovative practices. This way they will be able to guide and counsel their teaching staff towards a stronger and successful career. Consequently, to accomplish that, they have to work hard and show a great deal of care, which can be exacting and time-consuming.
Generally, staff meetings are the perfect place for the principal to motivate teachers and share this knowledge in a helpful and practical way. Moreover, as they may be more in touch with new approaches and theories, younger and newer teachers can also prove useful in letting their colleagues know about relevant current information.
Furthermore, mentoring also means help identify the knowledge and support each teacher’s needs individually in order to improve as an educator. That is, a principal must assist teachers in enhancing and empowering their strengths by way of helping them:
- Figure out what tools and techniques work better in the classroom;
- Which ones they like to use more.
This way the principal guides them to make informed decisions about the appropriate didactic strategies to implement in class.
In conclusion, a principal in their role of mentor may have a fundamental impact on the optimum progress of a teacher’s career. And most importantly, they put the school on the right track to academic success by fostering simultaneously a culture of self-improvement.
On a final note, we cannot stress enough the enormous importance of a principal who motivates teachers. Like the quality of the ingredients in a recipe, the teaching staff’s well-being is fundamental to obtain successful results in the teaching-learning process.
With that in mind, principals must find the best way to make teachers feel valued, supported, and comfortable. That way, educators will stay focused on achieving the main goal: doing their best for their students and for the school.
Are you interested in learning about how to be a successful principal or school leader? Check out our course ‘Leadership and Management in Schools‘ to find out more!