If you are a school leader, you’re in the thick of it right now. April feels like crazytown in school leadership. The end of the school year seems a million miles away and you are swimming in a sea of perpetual demands. It’s hard to even imagine next school year. You’ve got to get through this one first!
You might not want to hear this, but NOW is the time to plan your August teacher in service. Here’s why…
Teachers are showing you their needs
This time of year is also very demanding on teachers. Conferences, testing, meeting the needs of young humans full of spring fever. When we are under stress, our true colors show. Right now you can see who among your teachers is close to burn out. You can see where your systems are failing your teachers and causing them (and you) more work.
Crunch time is when the truth of your school becomes visible…if you’re paying attention. The cracks are apparent. You can ignore them, or you can make a plan to address them when everyone has the mental capacity to dig into the tough stuff. Take notes on what is causing stress in your building now and make space during your August teacher in service to make a shift.
Successes of the past school year are evident
You know the intentions and goals you set with the teachers at the beginning of the school year? If your team was truly committed to them, you’re starting to see the results now. Sometimes, it’s hard to see how much we’ve grown as an organization. Now is a time for you to reflect on what you implemented this year and identify what is working.
In my opinion, every August teacher in service should include time to celebrate success. Everyone in your building works so hard. They give their all to the children and families. They show up for all the extra events and committees. Slowly, you are building something truly amazing. Set aside some time to celebrate all that you and your team accomplished this year to fuel your inspiration for the coming year.
You need to get a facilitator on the calendar
Most of the folks who read this blog are Montessori school leaders. In our world we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that every single workshop or presenter we bring to our school must talk about Montessori philosophy and practices. Of course, I think it is a good idea to align with pedagogy at the start of each year. I also realize that there is SO MUCH MORE you can do with your team.
Last year in the month of August I was in Colorado, Washington state, and Connecticut facilitating teams of teachers and their administrators. Together, we talked about the hard things going on in each school. We identified how admin could show up to better support their teachers. We chose a word of the year for the school and made agreements on how to bring the vision to fruition.
The leaders in these schools were savvy enough to know that they needed to go beyond Montessori. They understood that their team of professionals deserved the dignity of challenging work. They also knew that, as the leader, they were not the right person to be the facilitator.
Everyone showed up and dug in with authenticity. The August teacher in service for each of these schools was truly special. The staff started the school year feeling deeply connected to one another and to their school’s mission.
No more waiting until July to plan August teacher in service
Set aside a few hours in the next week and reflect on this post. Where are you seeing signs of stress in your teachers? How are systems breaking down or not fully supporting staff? What do you want to celebrate about the past year? How do you want to see your teachers showing up as humans next year?
Identify the essential truths in your building today. Figure out who is the best person to help your team have these challenging conversations and do the work. That person just might be me, let’s book a free call and see if I’m the right person to help you make your next August teacher in service the best one you’ve ever hosted.