How School Leaders Can Support Teachers in the “New Normal” of Distance and Hybrid Teaching

How School Leaders Can Support Teachers in the “New Normal” of Distance and Hybrid Teaching

How School Leaders Can Support Teachers in the “New Normal” of Distance and Hybrid Teaching

By: Steve Ventura

The 2020-21 school year is starting like no other school year before. During this time of uncertainty, it is more important than ever for school leaders to lead with clarity of expectations, model persistence and dedication, and display empathy for students, families, and teachers. Teachers are on the front line of delivering equitable instruction through virtual and blended teaching—a fete worthy of note.

Here are a few ways that school leaders can support teachers during distance or hybrid learning:

Dedicate Resources to Technology Support

Distance teaching and learning has created the need for technological devices to be as up-to-date as possible. Teachers are using a variety of online learning platforms to keep their students engaged, and often times they are learning as they are using them. Be sure to have enough technical support staff available to update devices with software and hardware so teachers can give the best instruction possible. Providing some training on online tools and creating on-staff experts can be helpful too!

Another way to support teachers with technology is by providing resources that they can direct parents and students to when help is needed. Technical support staff should be available to field phone calls and provide support for students at home who have difficulties accessing information.

As school has started in many cities and states, teachers are navigating the first few remote teaching weeks with many challenges. For instance, some teachers have shared that they spend most of their time making sure the technology is working for all, which results in many students left unengaged and waiting during instructional time. Don’t let technology be a barrier in making sure teachers can keep teaching. Dedicate other folks who can support students who need technical assistance.


Limit Information Overload, Yet be Honest and Transparent

Administrators are charged with a balancing act on disseminating information to staff and families without overwhelming them. Yet, at the same time, things are changing rapidly, and there is a lot of information to share. Finding ways to communicate often, but with consistency and clarity, will be most useful to teachers and staff.

Consider a daily or weekly update email in lieu of staff meetings, and keep information concise and clear. Create open forums for Q&As and feedback and make sure teachers and staff feel heard. Another way to institute open and honest communication is to be clear about how you are spending your time as a leader. Share your daily schedule and make sure the staff knows how to reach you or other leaders if they need support.


Listen and Offer Support

Many teachers feel frustrated and out of their comfort zones right now, and in many cases, they feel like they are not being heard by peers or leadership. When this dynamic of frustration exists, teachers feel more anxious than ever before and need reassurance that everyone is in this “new normal” together.

The best way leaders can help staff is by listening while offering support and understanding. Listen to teachers and give grace during this learning curve. Celebrate wins and create an environment where it’s ok to test things that don’t work, learn what does work, and move on. Laugh together at technology blunders and create a collaborative school community that focuses on best practices. Remind teachers that learning drives the use of technology, not technology determining what is to be taught. Most importantly, check in with teachers on an individual basis through a quick phone call to see how they are doing and check if they need any additional support.

As a leader, your role is to build a school community that is supported from the top. By solving urgent needs, being honest and transparent, and making sure teachers feel heard, you can ensure that your school will survive this crazy year, and your team will be stronger because of it.

Download our printable version of this tool here

3 Ways to Support Teachers