There are many things to understand about teaching when you first begin your career, and even more..
Teachers and administrators have to be able to communicate effectively to get things done for the schools that they serve. However, actually forming great communication bonds between each other is sometimes easier said than done.
We’re hoping to offer some valuable and easily implemented communication tips here to help each of you bridge the gap if needed. But why would this be a concern?
The truth is every so often teachers we (sadly) hear teachers express concerns that they feel there is a disconnect between themselves and their administrations, which can present problems for both. Admins, in turn, sometimes say the same thing. In the ned, though, the solution is simple—improved communication. And the best part is that it’s easier than you think.
Above all, anyone working in either position simply wants the best for the students they educate. Part of providing that is being able to communicate with each other in a proactive and forward thinking manner. They’re all working under the same roof, and as the old African proverb instructs us, it takes a whole village to raise a child.
According to the National Center For Education Statistics, across the United States alone, there are 3.1 million teachers working today. That’s a lot of people doing this valuable job that might benefit from a few tips on how to improve professional (and often personal) communication with one another.
As teachers and admins alike, you all want your needs and ideas to be taken seriously. Happily, it’s something that you can support each other in every day.
Having open and friendly lines of communication is vital in any school system for the benefit of all involved. So here are 5 communication tips for teachers and administrators that will strengthen your ties through the subtle art of great communication.
1. Prioritize the Most Important Needs
As a teacher, don’t go to your administration staff with every single problem. Administration isn’t there to solve all of your issues. That being said when you as a teacher go to them when you really need something done for your classroom, they are more likely to take you seriously and respond for you.
The administration aren’t just the managers of the school, they are also the liaison between the board and the teaching staff. As such, they bring policy to the school and set it forth before their staff. You need to find a happy medium between what you want and what you can actually get done.
Stick to the most important requests, so the administration staff knows you are serious about your wants and needs.
2. Always Be Courteous and Brief
No matter if it’s in or out of the classroom, educators of every level are busy busy busy on a day-to-day basis. Consequently there isn’t always time for the in-depth discussions that are needed and often necessary. Always be as polite as possible, be brief, and state what you want in an open and direct manner.
Don’t go to your administration staff with every single problem. Administration isn’t there to solve all of your issues.
The best you can hope for is that who you’re approaching will respond to you in the same way. If further discussion of a particular matter is required, each party should decide on a scheduled time that suits both parties amicably.
3. Be Active in Your Union
In order to have the best ideas implemented in your school as a teacher, get involved in your union. That way you’ll have more knowledge on policy agenda for your school, and if you really want to implement change you can be a strong force in your union. Administrators take what the teacher’s union wants very seriously. Being a passive member of your union isn’t going to allow you to have the say you want on many issues facing your school.
4. Practice Exemplary Listening Skills
This is for both parties, the teachers and administration staff: always employ terrific listening skills. Everyone in any line of work just wants to be heard and understood. That won’t exist without listening well on both sides. Active listening, rather than simply waiting for a turn to speak, is paramount to effective communication. If you ultimately take only one of these communication tips into your practice, make it this one.
As teachers and admins alike, you all want your needs and ideas to be taken seriously—something that you can support each other in every day.
Ask the right questions and truly open your ears to hear what’s being discussed. Don’t just consider what you want to say next and get ahead of yourself during a discussion. Be present, be willing to hear ideas, and always be open to suggestions. Once again this is for all involved.
5. Keep the End Goal in Mind
A vital and definitely a terrific tip for both sides. What’s the end goal in mind for any teacher and administrator’s communication? The students. Their learning goals, the classroom environment, and the total school, as a whole, is all there to shape the young minds for a future they can excel at. It’s priority number one to make sure that a school system’s actions always benefit those students, first and foremost..
Having the right communication between both parties is going to make the school environment more effective and substantial for all involved. When there are holes in being able to share a constructive conversation, it’s only going to hurt the school’s operation in the long run. No one wants that, so valuable communication tips are so important to understand.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Originally published Feb 15, 2019, updated Dec 2, 2021