Teachers continuously have to adjust to transitions, but these past few years substantial shifts in learning have contributed to increased stress levels. Only 12 percent of teachers say they’re “very satisfied” with their jobs, a drop from 39 percent in 2012. As staff shortages add to teachers’ already heavy workloads and feelings of burnout persist, it's important for us all to step back and find a solution. In fact, 90% of National Education Association members, the nation’s largest union representing nearly 3 million educators, say feeling burned out is a serious problem. Teachers are speaking to us, so it is important we listen and empower them with the resources they need to succeed.
That's why last year, Newsela renamed Teacher Appreciation Week to Teacher Empowerment Week to better acknowledge the monumental contributions teachers had made in the past year and to show teachers more than just gratitude. It’s always nice to hear the words “thank you,” however, showing appreciation with action goes even further. People across the country are celebrating educators who continue to make a difference for countless students and families. We asked educators how administrators can empower them year-round, take a look at the following 3 ways:
1. Trust their ideas and expertise
As school leaders, creating a culture of trust empowers and reassures teachers that their ideas and professionalism are valued. Trust enables teachers to bring creativity to the classroom without feeling micromanaged. A recent Edutopia article described how trust-building techniques treat “teachers as professionals rather than subject-matter experts.” So what does this look like in action? School leaders can help create a culture of trust in a variety of ways such as recognizing excellence, encouraging autonomy, and being clear and transparent with employees on achieving goals that align with the school.
2. Share leadership
Teachers deserve to have a seat at the table where decisions are made. Shared leadership involves a collaboration where teachers are involved in shared decision-making alongside administrators, creating a more engaged school environment. Centering teachers' voices in decision-making is essential to creating change in the education system because they are too often left out of the conversation.
When teachers advocate for a resource(s) they need to enhance their instruction, administrators can support them by listening to their needs. Finding resources can be time consuming and overwhelming– in fact 95% of teachers report using resources they found on the internet to supplement core materials. Teachers spend so much time lesson planning, so if they find something that they find valuable, that’s an opportunity for administrators to support.
With Newsela, administrators can trust teachers to make instructional decisions based on what is best for their students with real-world, vetted content from over 100 trusted providers. Time is valuable to teachers, so that’s why Newsela’s content is not only rigorous and engaging but helps save teachers 7+ hours a week that they usually would spend searching for instructional materials online–most of which are unvetted. Taking the stress and unnecessary work of searching for materials online, opens more time for teachers to engage students, accelerate learning and think of ways to build classroom community. With thousands of real-world texts that feature diverse perspectives, and new content added daily, teachers will be empowered with the choice and freedom to choose content that resonates most with their students.
During Teacher Empowerment Week, Teacher Appreciation Week and all year round, continue to take time to appreciate, admire, and empower teachers— giving them space to connect with others and resources to recharge and reconnect.
Browse through our Teacher Empowerment Week text set here to learn more about the ways to support teachers.