If you're a teacher experiencing a lack of support from your school, check out this blog post for our top tips on how to handle a difficult administration who won't support you.
Seeking Support from School
Teachers are dedicated to a noble cause - educating the minds of tomorrow - so why does it so often feel as though the world is fighting against them? If you're feeling like you're in a constant battle for support from your school's administration, you're not alone. Here are our suggestions for what to do when your administration isn't being supportive.
Kill 'Em With Kindness
Or, if you want to choose a more peaceful platitude, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Our point here is that your approach to any disagreement has to start from a point of respect and kindness, no matter how much coffee-fueled frustration might be brewing inside of you. After all, these people are your employers and you want to stay in their good graces. There's always happy hour for venting later on.
Show, Don't Tell
When you want support from your administration, whether it's for professional development, incorporating technology, or trying something new, it's usually because you're trying to solve some type of problem. It will be much more convincing for your administration to support you when they truly understand the issue you're grappling with. But you won't successfully communicate the problem by simply telling your administration about it; you'll have to show them. Try inviting your administrator to your classroom so they can observe the issue for themselves. For example, if you want to get support for the purchasing of a new classroom technology tool, let your administrator see first-hand how much time you waste without that tool or how ineffective your current tool is.
Make the Consequences Clear
Let's say you have successfully shown your problem to your administration, but they still don't support the solution you propose. In that case, make it clear to your administrator what the consequences will be of not implementing the thing you're pushing for. For example, if you want to attend a specific professional development conference and your administrator says, 'That sounds great, but it's just too expensive,' be clear about exactly the ways in which you will fall behind on current instructional strategies if you don't attend.
Give Multiple Options
This is a strategy you're surely familiar with from working with children. Asking for just one thing can seem demanding, but offering multiple options that would all satisfy your needs creates an illusion of more choice, increasing your chances of getting the support you need. For example, if you want to purchase Chromebooks for your classroom, you can phrase the question to your administrator as 'Should we get desktop computers, Chromebooks, or tablets?' However, it is worth noting that your administrators aren't children, so this 'trick' might not be quite as effective as it would be in your classroom. But it's worth a shot!
Know When It's Not Worth it Anymore
Ultimately, no matter how much effort you put into trying to gain the support of your administration, you are beholden to their final decisions. This is simply a fact of a teacher's life. But if your administration is so unsupportive that it is causing harm to you or your students, whether it be by causing you undue stress or withholding permission for critical classroom improvements, it's time to consider some last resort actions. You might end up needing to contact the school district or involve other teachers or, sadly, even look for other jobs. This is a hard call to make, and you're the only one who can make it. Fortunately, most of the time, you'll be able to find a middle ground to work from. That push-pull is, after all, one of the time-honored traditions of the teaching profession. For better or worse.
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