What is "Support"?

A teacher commented:

I am a second year middle school English teacher, via the NYC Teaching Fellows. Given my 8 weeks of training and often sub par graduate classes, I think I'm doing an okay job in my state test obsessed school. I want to be great teacher, someday, but I seem to be on my own with that path. Any advice? Maybe a future post?

I asked her about the sub par graduate classes. She replied:

1. There's just not enough practical information given out as far as classroom management and how to specifically teach in my content area, English.

2. I do have a mentor from my grad school that visits me a few times a year to talk and observe. It's helpful, but mostly she just tells me I'm doing a great job.

Oy. In the recent Scholastic poll of 40,000 teachers, "Supportive Leadership" was chosen as the single highest driver in retaining good teachers.

But as far as I can tell, the survey never defined (or asked about) what that meant.

If we're honestly talking about retaining a legitimately good teacher, I'm pretty sure she's not equating "support" with praise alone. Sure, some! And appreciation.

But good teachers want a healthy dose of call-em-like-we-see-em critique, combined with actual specific solutions and teacher moves.

If those moves pay off with the kiddos, that's support. (And the teacher becomes hungry for critique...)

As for how your question of how to be a great teacher...click on the lefthand nav bar link called "Expert Performance" and let me know what you think of their view.