If you are an educator, you know RELATIONSHIPS MATTER! But what relationships matter?
I’m asking because we all know the relationships between students and teachers matter…but as an instructional coach I have encountered many teachers who feel they were not able to get the support they needed from coaches because they were not comfortable being coached by them. Or they held back from bringing up issues with administration because they didn’t want to deal with backlash from doing so. They feared being viewed as ineffective, incompetent, or lazy. They didn’t want to be labeled as negative or as a complainer. And these fears are valid, because this happens.
In a leadership role working primarily with adults, RELATIONSHIPS ARE STILL IMPORTANT! I have seen coaches degrade teachers who are struggling and need support. I have seen coaches blame teachers for their struggles without trying to help. If teachers feel like speaking up will cause them to be ridiculed, judged, looked down on, or spoken to condescendingly, they will not speak up. They will miss out on support that can help them grow and they will stay frustrated.
You can have ALL THE KNOWLEDGE and know EXACTLY HOW TO HELP a struggling teacher…but if that teacher doesn’t TRUST YOU, they will not open up to receive the support. A coach or an administrator can know ALL THE THINGS but struggle to influence real change if staff feel that leadership can not be trusted.
Administration and support roles are different roles from classroom teachers, but there should not be a hierarchy. Coaches and administrators are NO BETTER than classroom teachers. ALL OF US are working on growing, and we need each other! Time to FLATTEN THE HIERARCHY!
It is important to try to have a positive mindset, but there is nothing wrong with having concerns or working to improve things. Nothing lowers morale more than leaders ignoring real issues in order to try to make things appear great rather than address issues so that things can actually be great. And PLEASE, stop using “we need to do what is best for kids” while IGNORING WHAT IS BEST FOR TEACHERS! That is GASLIGHTING and it CRUSHES morale.
I promise…what is best for teachers IS best for kids. If you want to impact students, take care of teachers. Cared for teachers care for students. It all BEGINS with TRUST and RELATIONSHIPS.