Do you have staff members who need support and improvement just to meet expectations? It is important to prioritize that improvement or ensure that you will not retain them, not just for your students, but in order to retain your very best teachers.
“‘There is a deep misunderstanding about what teachers believe make a good school,’ says The New Teacher Project’s Tim Daly. Principals believe that focusing on retaining top teachers and addressing low performance would negatively impact school culture, but teachers said the opposite. Teachers were more likely to leave schools where they didn’t see the principal addressing low performance. Either improve your low performers or do not retain them; make schools attractive places for great teachers to work.” (Varlas, 2013)
So how do you prioritize improvement? Ensure that you meet weekly with the teacher to work on one bite-sized change a week. You observe, you coach and model, you observe again to see the teacher’s improvement, and then you work on one more bite-sized chunk each week. Document the next step and the results. If the teacher shows improvement, it is possible to get the teacher where you want him or her with intense support, even if it’s not immediate. If it seems like it will take too long or you don’t see improvement, it’s time to have a tough conversation. If you work intensely with this teacher, even for a short time, you will both have a good sense of what it would take to see improvement and it will be an easier conversation to have.
Varlas, Laura. (2013). Focus on Retention. How to Keep your Best Teachers. Educational Leadership: (55) 3, 1-2, 3, 7.