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A caring employee is a better employee – how to support teachers

A caring employee is a better employee - how to support teachers
A caring employee is a better employee - how to support teachers

Our lives are largely ruled by emotions: they are the first reaction to new experiences, to various cognitive situations, to difficulties and problems, to words addressed to us or about us, to places, objects, people … We build emotional relationships with ourselves and we respond to meeting our needs (or not). The brain likes it to be pleasant, safe, interesting, and varied. Then he remembers better and learns faster, supports concentration and maintains enthusiasm for a long time. A caring employee is a better employee.

Work atmosphere

Working at school brings with it many challenges. Daily support for students and their parents can drain the strength and enthusiasm of even the most dedicated to their work teachers. A load of duties, deadlines, The sense of responsibility for creating situations conducive to the success of their pupils may have a demotivating effect. This is due to the fact that such work disturbs the separation of private and professional life, and in fact often results in the appropriation of privacy by work. Exhausted and frustrated teachers lose their enthusiasm and joy in learning as they struggle with increasing stress leading to burnout. How to change it?

I think it’s good to start with taking care of those elements that determine the effectiveness of the team’s work. A good team is composed of qualified, cooperative teachers (in a team, but also with students and their parents), assertive and effective communicating, responsibly carrying out tasks aimed at achieving common goals. The diagnosis of these areas will help to select activities that will support individually and have a positive impact on the effectiveness of the operation. Supporting activities may include courses, trainings, workshops developing knowledge and skills, both didactic (e.g. regarding the organization of classes in a way that facilitates learning), educational (e.g. how to recognize difficult and dangerous behaviors in students, and how to react to them) or personal (e.g., training in communication or emotional control).

Actions that weaken the motivation of employees

Negative emotions are the most effective in reducing motivation. For healthy functioning, we need a sense of security at the physiological, psychological and social level, as well as success and self-realization. Any action that hits any of these factors weakens the motivation.

  • Failure to take into account occupational hygiene factors in planning and assigning duties (e.g. too many shifts during breaks, causing the teacher to either conduct lessons or be on duty, not being able to eat a meal or just a moment of rest, too many replacements, causing the teacher to for 8-9 hours he is constantly on-line, not having time for a short break).
  • Lack of support in solving educational problems, coping with emotions related to working with students and parents, disturbed relationships.
  • Disturbed cooperation (or lack thereof) in the team of teachers.
  • Underestimated efforts, constant control by the supervisor, fear of making a mistake.
  • No possibility of personal development.
  • Overburdened with duties.

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Activities supporting employee motivation

Motivation is born where there are positive emotions. Where emotions are important and management is based on the diagnosis of the needs of the team and individual teachers, the commitment to achieving common goals increases. What actions can the director take?

  • Knowledge of the private needs of specific teachers (someone commutes from a distance – if possible, I plan a lesson for him from the second or third school hour, and someone else lives quite close, but has a sick mother who is looked after at home – I plan lessons if possible so that the teacher has two or three hours of break inside, another works in two more institutions – he conducts lessons for three days in our school, and has one day in others, etc.).
  • Knowledge of teachers’ professional needs (co-financing of postgraduate studies, courses, individual training).
  • Effective communication (also in a dispersed team) and good relationships that increase employees’ trust in the director.
  • Practical assertiveness (conducting conversations with marking your opinion, respecting other people’s views and rights, naming your emotions, expressing your needs, etc.).
  • The “open door” of the office, i.e. openness to conversation on any topic initiated by the employee.
  • Taking care of cooperation in teams, organizing team meetings, delegating tasks.
  • Clear declaration of help in didactic and educational difficulties. Organizing various forms of support (e.g. consultation with a psychologist or other expert for teachers, consulting the team on organizing trainings and workshops).
  • Treating errors as a source of information.
  • Showing trust in employees (controlling goals, not people).
  • Appreciating efforts, praising them, noticing changes for the better.
  • Celebrating both individual and team successes.
  • Organizing meetings outside the school, enabling teachers to get to know each other better, as well as being together, talking or, for example, singing.
  • And by the way – buying a coffee machine can also affect motivation, as it is a signal that the headmaster cares about the teachers’ well-being.

To sum up

Effective motivation is making employees feel not only appreciated, but also trusted in their qualifications and skills. The basis of the atmosphere conducive to motivation will be good team management, with great attention and response to the individual needs of employees. Emotions have the power to guide and maintain commitment. If we take care of emotions, we will take care of motivation, because a cared for employee is a better employee