How motivated are your teachers? Do they love to come to work each day? Do they feel supported and have the tools they need to do their job? The answer might surprise you.
Did you know that early education teachers experience the LEAST amount of personal freedom compared to almost ANY other job in our country?
This was an epiphany for me! Think about it… imagine a day in the life of a pre-school teacher! You are inside a room with one other adult and children ALL day. Compare that to another restrictive profession such as a representative at a call center. Which job has more personal freedom?
- Which person can stretch their legs when they want?
- Which person can take 5 minutes to go to the bathroom if they need to without asking?
- Which person can take an important personal call and not worry about their student/teacher ratio?
- Which person can take a break from their co-worker if they have conflict or need a little space?
Thinking about these things was a HUGE shift for me! And we wonder why this low paying job as a child care provider or early education teacher is a high turnover position. It is no surprise that the average industry turnover year-over-year for pre-school teachers is 35%.
Having personal freedom and managing conflict and having very little empowerment in your work environment is a BIG DEAL and pre-school teachers NEED your support in order have the motivation to overcome these challenges and show up day after day.
So Let’s talk about four ways that we can give teachers a better experience, a better career, a motivational REASON to come to work every day.
Give teachers the ability to manage their classrooms the way they want. You can still hold them accountable to your school’s standards, but let them do it their own way. Do NOT micromanage them. Give them empowerment.
2. Opportunities for Leadership and Growth
Provide opportunities for them to grow and expand even if it is not reflected in the organizational chart. Encourage them to become a resident expert about a certain topic or become a project leader or a mentor to fellow teachers. Then PAY them for their extra work!
3. Support in the Classroom
Walk through your teachers classrooms EVERY DAY. Plan to spend 5 minutes in each class and make sure the teachers have everything they need. ASK them if there is anything you can get them. Be available to them and let them know you will schedule one-on-one time to talk with them if they need it. Make sure they feel SUPPORTED in their classroom.
4. Provide Classroom Supplies
I covered this topic in depth in a prior video (Can You Believe Teachers Pay For Their Own Supplies?). Teachers pay for approximately 87% of their classroom supplies. We all know teachers don’t make a huge amount of money. Give them what they need for their classrooms. PLEASE don’t make them buy their own supplies.
Consider these four tips for motivating your teachers and sit down and create a plan for incorporating these practices into your child care center’s management.
Let your teachers KNOW you know how hard the job is, how little personal freedom they have and that you want to SUPPORT them.
Empower them. Provide opportunities for leadership and growth. Be available. Give them the supplies they need. Then watch how your teacher’s job satisfaction and motivation improves.