Thinking Beyond Goals: 4 Key Actions to Support Teachers Right Now

This year, faculty and staff need more support, and different support. Goal-directed growth remains the centerpiece for faculty/staff support at many schools, for good reasons, although it needs to be complemented by other tactics. And at schools where goal-setting wasn’t possible in the fall, those other supports are still crucial (although mid-year is also a good time to set goals!). Regardless of where your school is around goals, consider using myFolio to provide a broader and more holistic set of supports to faculty/staff to help them get through the year.

Keep an Eye on Morale and Well-Being

One of the most important things leaders can do right now is to look out for the well-being of faculty and staff in personal and targeted ways. This will be more important than ever in the early months of 2021, as the sprint that was this past fall fades into burnout, exhaustion, and depression for many educators and school folks. 

  • myFolio’s Mindful Minute tool was explicitly designed to help teachers reflect upon how they are doing on a weekly basis, and to share actionable, specific information with leaders about both the bird’s-eye view of faculty/staff well-being and morale as well as the specifics of who is having a tough time with what.
  • For those looking for more in-depth ways of keeping track of how faculty and staff are doing, consider working to make sure every employee has a well-being conversation once or twice a month with a leader or supervisor. Track the highlights of these conversations as Conversation Notes; taking notes about well-being conversations signals how deeply you care and can help maintain a thread over weeks and months. “I know it’s one of the best things we’ve done,” reports a school leader in California who has made this practice part of her weekly routine this year.

Celebrate Small Victories and Progress

In the face of adversity and loss, sometimes it feels like every day is terrible and we’re never getting anywhere. Fact: many teachers feel this way, whether or not they’re expressing it verbally. One of the best ways to push back against this demoralization is to celebrate authentic victories and successes on a daily basis. 

  • Make myFolio’s Spotlight tool your best friend and constant companion. Specific, personal praise is a powerful weapon in tough times. Every time you smile, laugh, or feel good at any point in the day because of the work of a faculty/staff member, Spotlight it. Whenever a student, parent, or colleague mentions the good work of a faculty/staff member, Spotlight it. And each time you witness or hear about a colleague trying something new and creative in response to the pandemic, Spotlight it.
  • Remember that the best praise describes when and where the behavior you want to see repeated took place, what the behavior was in detail, and why it matters to you, the school, the students, etc.
  • Consider using Conversation Notes, with attached artifacts, to celebrate in even greater depth the great work of faculty and staff members.

Capture What They’ve Learned This Year

Folio is a learning tool. Whether or not your teachers have set goals for this year, they have learned and are learning a tremendous amount. Don’t lose all that growth – find ways to capture and record it. There are lots of ways to make this happen:

  • Try a Reverse Goal-Setting activity as a way to create retrospective goals as a scheme for learning that has already happened
  • Create a custom Year-End Self-Reflection form for faculty/staff to complete, reflecting on 2020. Ask questions that prompt them to think about what they have learned and how it will help them in the remainder of this academic year and beyond.
  • Have Mid-Cycle Conversations with faculty and staff members to help them think about and record all the learning and growth they’ve done.

Provide Observations Aligned to the Times

What kinds of observations do teachers need this year? Observation notes full of positivity, praise, goals-linked feedback, and acknowledgement of the virtual and socially-distant nature of their classes. 

You help the faculty/staff. And we help you. Drop us a line today for more ideas about how to leverage the myFolio platform in the interests of supporting faculty/staff well-being and morale.

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