The medium of the message in parent communication

When I was a school administrator, the most frequent complaints I received were around communications. “Why wasn’t I told earlier?” asked a dad unhappy with his child’s report card. Then, less frequently, a mom would complain that a teacher communicates too much. “I don’t want to hear about every bump in the road”, she might say after the umpteenth family …

Face your fears of faculty evaluations

Many administrators feel very uncomfortable, if not fearful, about conducting teacher evaluations. Recognizing the importance and sensitivity of evaluating teachers, they approach the task with trepidation. They correctly perceive that a poorly conducted evaluation may do more harm than good. When I conduct evaluation workshops for administrators, I ask participants to share what bothers them about performing evaluations. Here are …

Making the case for mentoring

You probably know that a mentor, a seasoned fellow professional, can help you be more successful, whether you are a new or an experienced leader. You are probably also aware that a mentor will provide you with valuable, confidential, feedback, make suggestions, and, through discussion, help you arrive at your own insights that will lead to your greater success. While …

6 Paths to PD Success

How many workshops have your teachers been required to attend that they thought were an absolutely frustrating waste of time? When they are so busy, setting up a new year, or preparing units and lessons, or coaching athletics teams, their time is precious, and they have no tolerance for it being wasted by pointless “Professional Development”. I would guess that …

How to avoid demotivating teachers

Don’t demotivate your teachers! Much has been said about how to motive teachers.  However, it is more important to avoid demotivating them.  Here are seven ways that are sure to demotivate teachers: “Inclusive” classrooms without adequate support for students with significant special needs Unsupportive administration when dealing with difficult parents Excessive administrative demands – paperwork, over-complicated reporting systems, too many …

Procrastination: The Thief of More than Time!

“Procrastination is the Thief of Time”, goes the well-known saying. When one procrastinates, puts off doing what should be done, one ends up spending more time than if one had done it right away. However, often one loses much more than time through procrastination. Here are some of the costs of delay: •Inefficiency: that mounting pile of papers that slows …

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Want to improve teacher evaluations? Take your time.

A sound teacher evaluation program is vital for the quality and reputation schools, administrations and boards.  Conducting quality teacher evaluations, however, takes much time. One usual justification for teacher evaluation is the improvement of instruction.  Yet unless the evaluation process is sound, evaluations lead to little if any change. Teachers will only take evaluations seriously if they respect the process, …

Should teachers give homework?

Homework is often controversial, dividing both parents and teachers. Those in favour, believe that homework teaches responsibility, organization skills, and strengthens learning. Those against, say it places strain on families, and takes away from time that students should have for other things. Students, they argue, spend enough time in school, and homework should be unnecessary. I think that the value …

Do clients do what you tell them?

An acquaintance with whom I was discussing my consulting work asked “Do they do what you tell them?” I explained that I don’t tell my clients what to do. Instead, we discuss the issues, sometimes crises, that the client has raised. Together we explore their implications, possible courses of action, and the risks and benefits of each. The value of …

Opportunity For New Beginnings

Contributed by Michael O’Hara, Principal, Keheewin School, Edmonton Public Schools, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Every school head and teacher knows the nervous apprehension and excitement in anticipating a new school year. It is the opportunity to do what was not done last year, or to do what was attempted differently, for a better outcome. Leaders sometimes forget that doing what one has always done …