Based on the research I did for See Me After Class, teachers would collectively make the following three requests from administrators—or collectively thank administrators who already do these things.
Give plenty of lead-time before making big changes.
Teachers do their best work when they have time to plan ahead. Last-minute changes in classrooms, schedules, or curriculum waste the gas in teachers’ tanks and leave them feeling frustrated. With this in mind, teachers appreciate when you let them know who, what, and where they’ll be teaching as early as possible. Then try as hard as possible to avoid mid-year changes.
Back up teacher judgment calls whenever possible.
Teachers have to make on-the-spot decisions all day, every day. Students challenge their authority. Parents question grades and consequences. Knowing they’ll have your support during a conference gives them more confidence in the classroom. If you do have concerns about how a teacher has handled a situation, make this a private discussion. Reversing teachers’ decisions or reprimanding them in front of others makes them seem weak and sends them back to class with destroyed credibility.
Have fair, transparent processes for making your own decisions.
Make sure your faculty understands how you assign classes, distribute students with behavior problems, and make classroom upgrades. No matter who gets that new smart-board or has to teach the overflow class, avoiding the appearance of favoritism is good for everyone’s morale.