How School Leaders Can Help Improve Teacher Quality

improving teacher quality
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School leaders want all of their teachers to be great teachers. Great teachers make a school leader’s job easier. Realistically, not every teacher is a great teacher. Greatness takes time to develop. A major component of a school leader’s job is to improve teacher quality. An effective school leader has the ability to help any teacher take it to the next level. A good school leader will help a bad teacher become effective, an effective teacher become good, and a good teacher become great. They understand that this is a process that takes time, patience, and a lot of work.

By improving teacher quality, they will naturally improve student learning outcomes. Improved input equals improved output. This is an essential component of school success. Continuous growth and improvement are necessary. There are many ways that a school leader can improve teacher quality within their building. Here, we examine seven ways that a school leader can help individual teachers grow and improve.

Conduct Meaningful Evaluations

It takes a lot of time to conduct a thorough teacher evaluation. School leaders are often times overwhelmed with all their duties and evaluations are commonly placed on the backburner. However, evaluations are the single most crucial aspect when improving teacher quality. A school leader should routinely observe and evaluate a teacher’s classroom to identify areas of need and weakness and to create an individual plan for that teacher to improve in those areas.

An evaluation should be thorough, especially for those teachers who have been identified as needing significant improvement. They should be created after a substantial number of observations that allow a school leader to see the entire picture of what a teacher is doing in their classroom. These evaluations should drive a school leader’s plan of the resources, suggestions, and professional development that is required to improve individual teacher quality.

Offer Constructive Feedback/Suggestions

A school leader must offer a list that includes any weaknesses which they find during the evaluation. A school leader should also give detailed suggestions to guide teacher improvement. If the list is exceedingly comprehensive, then pick a few of the things that you believe is the most important. Once those have improved to an area deemed effective, then you can move on to something else. This can be done both formally and informally and is not limited to what is in the evaluation. A school leader may see something that could improve the teacher on a quick visit to the classroom. The school leader may offer constructive feedback intended to address this smaller issue.

Provide Meaningful Professional Development

Engaging professional development can improve teacher quality. It is necessary to note that there are a lot of terrible professional development opportunities. A school leader needs to look thoroughly at the professional development they are scheduling and determine if it will produce the intended results. Engaging professional development can foster dynamic changes for a teacher. It can motivate, provide innovative ideas and gives a fresh perspective from an outside source. There are professional development opportunities that cover just about any weakness a teacher has. Continuous growth and improvement is essential for all teachers and even more valuable for those who have gaps that need to be closed.

Provide Adequate Resources

All teachers need the appropriate tools to do their job effectively. School leaders must be able to give their teachers the resources they need. This can be challenging as we currently live in an era where educational funding is a significant issue. However, in the age of the Internet, there are more tools available to teachers than ever before. Teachers must be taught to use the Internet and other technologies as an educational resource in their classroom. Great teachers will find a way to cope without having all the resources they would like to have. However, school leaders should do everything they can to provide their teachers with the best resources or provide professional development to use the resources they do have effectively.

Provide a Mentor

Great veteran teachers can provide tremendous insight and encouragement to an inexperienced or struggling teacher. A school leader must develop veteran teachers who want to share best practices with other teachers. They must also build a trusting, encouraging atmosphere in which their entire faculty communicates, collaborates, and shares with each other. School leaders must make mentor connections in which both sides have similar personalities, or the connection may be counterproductive. A solid mentor connection can be a positive, learning venture for both the mentor and the mentee. These interactions are most effective when they are daily and ongoing.

Establish Ongoing, Open Communication

All school leaders should have an open door policy. They should encourage their teachers to discuss concerns or to seek advice at any time. They should engage their teachers in ongoing, dynamic dialogue. This dialogue should be continuous especially for those teachers who need improvement. School leaders should want to build engaging, trusting relationships with their teachers. This is essential for improving teacher quality. School leaders who do not have this sort of relationship with their teachers will not see improvement and growth. School leaders must be active listeners who offer encouragement, constructive criticism, and suggestions when appropriate.

Encourage Journaling and Reflecting

School leaders should encourage inexperienced or struggling teachers to journal. Journaling can be a powerful tool. It can help a teacher grow and improve through reflection. It can help them better recognize their individual strengths and weaknesses. It is also valuable as a reminder of things that worked and things that did not work so well in their classroom. Journaling can spark insight and understanding. It can be a dynamic game changer for teachers who genuinely want to improve.