I wanted to share some key strategies for other school leaders that I have used when it comes to starting and running a successful school Facebook page. According to PEW Research 69% of adults are using Facebook. More importantly parents, grandparents, and relatives can tag and share information quickly. This is one of the best ways to communicate with your school community and with how schools are viewed in the local, state, and national media now it is more important than ever for schools to be sharing their stories with the community.
Being an administrator is tough and it has changed vastly over the past few decades but with reduced funding, over worked staff, and more responsibilities added to the principal role it is almost an impossible job to perform. Here are a few tips to help you get through that first year and to make it easier on yourself.
1) Be Visible: Be in the hallway every passing period and before/after school. Also, be sure to rotate where you are in the hallways. Make it a point to be in the cafeteria and talking with students during lunch time. Smile and interact with the students and ask them how their day is going. You'd be surprised how many students go the entire day without any real interaction with another person in your school.
2) Praise the Positive: One of my favorite leadership authors is Jon Gordon and he always said feed the positive's in your school. Make it a point to praise an adult staff member each and every day! Talk about a game changer if you start praising your staff on a daily basis they will start to feel great and it will turn into a habit one worth keeping.
3) Ask Staff and Students what they want Changed: Your leading the students and staff it is a great idea to figure out what is important to them and what they would like to be changed in their school. Being humble and realizing that you are serving them and they are not there for you is important, if you have all the answers and don't listen you will lose followers quickly. And then execute changes that are in your control. There's not a better feeling around than improving a school with the teachers and students input.
4) Recognition: Recognize anything and everything that you can possible and let people know about it. The more you highlight and recognize the more staff and students will know what you like and what they have to do to become recognized which will create a culture of success in the building.
5) Have Fun: Like I said it's an impossible job you might as well try to enjoy it! Some days will be better than other but one thing that is for certain is that you will have a never ending stack of problems that you will attempt to fix daily. Be preventative a happy principal is a happy school. Students feed off of their teachers and the teachers feed off of you make it enjoyable for everyone and have fun!
Blog written by Principal Andy Jordan
As of August 1st, 2020 there are more than 1,900 teaching positions unfilled in Illinois according to the Illinois State Board of Education website. Last year according to the IASB.com website 56 percent of school districts surveyed felt they had a problem with teacher shortages and 22 percent felt they had a major problem with teacher shortages. Furthermore, a follow up survey showed that 92% of southern Illinois districts had issues with teacher shortages in 2019.
According to USAtoday.com In an exclusive USA TODAY/Ipsos poll, 1 in 5 teachers say they are unlikely to go back to school if their classrooms reopen in the fall, a potential massive wave of resignations. With Illinois already being in a teacher shortage and a potential wave of teacher resignations occurring if schools do come back to school their could potentially be a wave of teachers that resign.
These are all series issues concerning schools and districts come 2020 and 2021. The other angle that concerns me that I haven't heard anyone talk about is the effect of COVID-19 in our schools and how that will affect our teaching staff. I pray that zero students and teachers get COVID-19 this Fall and school year, but realistically that probably isn't going to happen considering that we are in a world wide health crisis. Teachers and administrators tend to be overworked and overstretched and it couldn't be more true at small schools where budgets are insufficient and staff are underpaid. These rural overworked staff have more stress and tread on the tires compared to other well funded fully supported districts. I foresee teachers and administrators across the state getting COVID-19 and some passing away from the disease.
I applaud the work of our educators and our school staff and the efforts and work they are going through to keep our schools and students safe. I feel uneasy about the teacher pipeline next year and I fear we will have a large amount of our teacher workforce quit the profession or pass away from the disease. Hopefully, I am wrong but with how teachers and administrators are viewed nationally and their average pay rate with their degrees compared to people with same level of degrees outside of education I am unsure that we will be able to close the Illinois teacher shortage crisis or change the curve to bring the teacher workforce back up to where it needs to be.
Blog written by: Andy Jordan Principal
Andy Jordan, Ed.S.
Andy Jordan is a first generation college graduate who has dedicated his career to improving schools and fighting educational equality. Please follow and comment as we discuss the educational process.