It’s Not All About the Money

NPR gives great insight on why teachers quit. It isn’t all about the money.


Teachers and Administrators, what do you wish the other knew or remembered about your job?

This question was posed to me in a conversation on another social media site, and I thought it was a valuable one. I have been an administrator at the district and school level and a classroom teacher at several levels, so I know what I wanted the other side to know when I was in different jobs. Here is what I shared in my response, but I am sure there are more.

Teachers would like Administrators to Know/Remember-
1. Remember that teachers have no flexibility during the day because they are with KIDS.
2. Teachers tend to like knowing schedule changes, plans for different days, etc. and are uncomfortable not knowing as early as possible.
3. Teachers often like preparing over the summer when they have time, so not telling them things about their job placement before the summer is very frustrating.
4. Teachers appreciate simple acknowledgments of jobs well done.
5. The wording of things is very important. There’s now way to tell you that now vs I understand why you would like that information now; however, I am not able to tell you yet. As soon as I am, I’ll let you know.
6. Teachers appreciate administrators who are visible in the halls, at lunch, etc.

Admin would like Teachers to Know/Remember-
1. Administrators can’t make everyone happy–ever. I always felt like I could give every teacher a million dollar and there would be people mad that it wasn’t more.
2. Being an administrator is stressful as you try to balance the needs/requirements of teachers, students, school board, parents, etc. in mind.
3. Administrators are responsible for everything that happen in the building/district but are in control of very little.
4. Good administrators recognize the importance of teachers and work to communicate with them clearly.
5. Administrators don’t always have the flexibility to do what they think is best for the school/teachers/kids.
6. Principals often have mandates that they are not always at liberty to share.
7. All teachers don’t do what they are supposed to do, and when the administrators take action, it doesn’t mean that the admin is going against all teachers. Teachers tend to “close ranks” around teachers who are being disciplined or mentored even though teachers know the teacher isn’t doing what he/she should be doing.
8. The teachers who are the most inflexible with students are often the ones who are late with paperwork, fail to follow directives, etc.

The Six Biggest Mistakes I Have Made in My Teaching Career

Great list especially with the end of the school year approaching for many of us. For me, I would add three things.

1. Focusing on the negatives — I dwell on the one parent who contacts me with a negative instead of the 5 thank you messages I got last week. I can’t let go of the one or two kids who aren’t turning in their work instead of celebrating the ones that had a light bulb moment this past week.

2. Not picking my battles -I need to pick my battles so that my time and energy are directed to people who may benefit the most and to the tasks that have to be done.

3. Getting caught up in the negativity – It is very easy to feel negatively when I am around a lot of negative talk. By surrounding myself with those who tend to be more positive, I tend to be more positive myself.