Headteachers start each day with a multitude of people to manage: students, inspectors, parents, governors, secretaries, caretakers, cleaners and, of course, teaching staff. With so many disparate groups to appease, it can seem an impossible feat.
But in the 10 April issue of TES, Jo Brighouse, a primary school teacher in the Midlands, says that there are certain habits school leaders can adopt to ensure a happy and productive staff. Here is a taster of her advice:
Keep your door open
If you’re held hostage in your office by spreadsheets, leave the door open. Sometimes teachers have a quick query that only the headteacher can answer. If your door is open, teachers can pop in and ask your advice rather than trekking along corridors only to hover outside a closed door.
Let teachers get on with it
If you’ve observed teachers’ lessons recently and are happy that everyone is learning and no riots are taking place, leave them to get on with it. If you spot something that you like, let them know. Equally, if there’s something you’re not happy with, inform the teacher straight away. Teachers' confidence can be drained by the regular appearance of a headteacher with a stony expression and no explanation or follow-up.
Be generous with praise
A "well done" when a teacher has delivered a good lesson or assembly can make all the difference. Although the current trend has praise firmly aligned with improvement, staff morale will rise faster if you occasionally hold back on the “Even better if…” section and just leave it at: “Great work. Now have a cup of tea.”
Don’t doubt staff when they call in sick
Teachers are a stoical lot. If they ring to say they’re too ill to come to work, they mean it. The average teacher will be wracked with guilt for letting everyone down, so believe them when they say they would be there if they could.
Show an interest in the kids
You’re unlikely to gain the respect of staff if you know the levels of every child in a class but not their names. Teachers are fiercely protective of their cohorts and headteachers who treat these children as statistics invariably fail to inspire devotion.
For the full story, get the 10 April edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.