TEACHERS OFTEN FEAR SPEAKING OUT. Many teachers keep quiet about issues for fear of offending the principal. But there are steps you can take to minimize the risk and gain support from the principal:
MOST IMPORTANT: MEET REGULARLY WITH YOUR PRINCIPAL.
- Build trust in advance. Start talking regularly one-on-one with your principal. share your successes and hear about his or her concerns, so when an issue comes up he/she is ready to back you.
- When you are ready to speak out more publicly, let the principal know first, and explain how it won’t undermine the administration — no surprises. That way, you can feel safe expressing your ideas.
- More and more principals are coming to understand that an essential part of teachers’ role is sharing their expertise in the wider community. Check out where your principal is in this kind of thinking.
BUILD SUPPORT WITH OTHERS. Use one-on-ones to gain involvement of other teachers and with parents. Multiple voices insure that you are not alone when you decide to speak out. And for some issues, talking with individuals rather than more publicly, accomplishes your purpose just as well.
Send us your comments. Share your stories about ways you made it safer to speak up.