Are you a school administrator that spends too much time replacing teachers every hiring season? Do you see good teachers quit due to teacher burnout? Have you wondered what you can do to build resilience in your staff members? Well, read on!
Resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” A study completed by Janice Patterson, a former educator, author and college professor on urban teachers found that resilient teachers have a few things in common. More than a decade later, the findings from this 2004 study are still valuable for administrators.
First, resilient teachers feel “called” to teach, so let them talk about it! Provide opportunities for educators to share their reason for teaching, their successes, and their struggles. This would be a great way to start a staff meeting or workshop day.
Next, teachers with resilience value professional development. As an administrator, you can have a direct effect on this. Give teachers the training they need to be successful and support their life-long learning in any way you can.
Resilient teachers have support systems. You might be one of them, so take that seriously and be the best support system you can be! Help them develop their own caring network, too. Resilient teachers have friends and colleagues who support their work intellectually and emotionally.
Teachers with toughness do whatever it takes to help children succeed. They keep the children and learning at the center of their decision-making. You can help by modeling these same values. Specific praise can mean the world to a teacher, so if you observe this happening, let them know you appreciate it!
Resilient teachers know when to get involved. These teachers are your problem solvers, so empower them to do just that. They also can be great mentors and leaders. This work is both inspiring and uplifting, so provide opportunities as you see fit.
They also know when to let go, and YES, it is okay to let go. It might just keep you sane.
Finally, resilient educators are not locked into one way of doing things. They look for new, different and innovative approaches. They can be flexible with change. This might be an idea you will need to reinforce.
As a leader, you have an immense amount of influence over the educators in your building. Help them build resilience! This will benefit all stakeholders and save you time and energy in the long run.