How Do Teachers Support Each Other?

How Do Teachers Support Each Other?

As teachers, there are a lot of times that we just feel like we are drowning.  As a naturally nurturing profession, we want to be supportive of other teachers.  And we also want to support each other as teachers.

The Challenge

We are overwhelmed at the beginning of the year, trying to get organized and start over with a whole new group (or groups) of students.  Then we become overwhelmed as we get closer to the holidays and still have so much to do but with so much distraction.  As the holidays are over and we return to school, we become overwhelmed with diving right into the rest of the year.  And as the year comes to a close, we are overwhelmed that we aren’t going to finish nearly as much as we had hoped.

And those are only the biggest things.  In day-to-day teachers life, we are overwhelmed over so many other things that pop up.  Never a dull moment for sure!

The Solution

So, how do teachers support each other through all of this, especially when all of the teachers are feeling it?  And how do we support other teachers when we are so overwhelmed ourselves?  The phrase “many hands make light work” is instrumental to the success of teachers collectively.  And while other teachers may not be in your classroom with you, that doesn’t mean their support, advice, and other means of help are not. 

After thinking about the times I was supported by other teachers, or times that I was able to help other teachers, and thinking about ways I wish I could have been helped, I decided to research and find out the best ways that teachers can support each other in today’s educational systems.  Read on to find out what I discovered!

Note:  Most of these forms of support work in just about any format–in the workplace and the home.  Really, this post is more about relating to others in a helpful and compassionate way.  So even if you aren’t a teacher, this is still for you!

Combine Each Others’ Best Experiences

When you combine all of the teachers’ years of experience in your school, you are getting upwards of a CENTURY of experiences to draw from.   Even home schools can do this with the other home school moms and dads in your circle of support!

With support like this, you have an amazing pool of resources at your fingertips.  Granted, all the advice, tips, hacks, or materials will not work across the board for your classroom.

All teachers are different.  And all classrooms are different.  But there is so much for you to draw from.  And many times you can glean some of the best ideas by taking a snippet of the advice you are given, then turning it into your own creation.  Sometimes the smallest bit of inspiration will turn into some of your biggest shining moments!

And because teachers are nurturing types (generally speaking), you will find nearly every single teacher in the world eager to share with your what has worked for him/her in their own experience.

And in the same vein, you are probably just as eager to share your greatest classroom victories as well.  Seeing someone else succeed with your seed is one of the most satisfying parts of the job.

Verbalize Your Support

Generally, most people think that others understand how they feel about them.   And indeed, we do give cues about that in our body language and many of the things that we discuss with others.

But if we do not directly verbalize our support to others, they may miss it.  I know that I am the worst at taking hints.  And when something is indirectly suggested to me, I am generally going to either totally miss it, or have multiple arguments with myself over the meaning of what was said to me.

So even if we think we are being clear in our support, verbalizing it is the best thing we can do to ensure that our support is clearly understood.

Scholastic published an excellent article that perfectly illustrates this issue.  You can read that article by clicking here.  If you don’t have time to read it, the gist is that there was a man that was a shining star in the eyes of his students and fellow teachers.  But because nobody ever told him that directly, he never knew how they felt.

He just plodded through his teaching career doing the best he could but having no clue how much he was truly appreciated.

Let’s make sure that none of our fellow teachers go through that same experience.  There is so much we can verbally praise each other for on a daily basis!

“Gossip” About the Good Stuff…

…but not the not-so-good stuff!

Whenever you hear a good word spoken about anybody, whether from a student, parent, other teacher, or administration, let the person being praised know about it at your earliest convenience.

When was the last time someone came up to you and told you what someone else had told them about you that they loved?  It doesn’t happen often enough!  Let’s make that happen on a regular basis.  And, even better, you be the person out there spreading the gossip of goodness!

On the flip side, if you hear something bad about someone, encourage that person to go talk to the person they were bothered by.  Don’t pass that on.  Instead be an encouragement to all of the parties.

I know in the scheme of things this can be difficult.  But to become the person that everybody knows they can trust because you won’t misuse information you get is such a treasure in today’s world of relationships.  I can’t tell you how much richer life becomes when you do this.

Fight the Feelings of Isolation

Some people may not understand how teachers can feel so isolated when they are surrounded by so many people daily.  There are 20+ students all vying for your attention at the same time.  Teachers abound in classrooms and teacher student lounges.  And then there is the rest of the staff and administration.

While this is all true, and many nights teachers come home just needing a  bit of peace and privacy to recover, it doesn’t take away the isolation that is felt when they are single-handedly teaching in their classroom for most of the day.  It is a very different type of “alone,” but the feelings of being isolated are very much there.

So what can we do about it?  Schedule sacred time that you can just take a breather with other teachers (or even just other adults).

This can be 10 minutes daily that you can decompress with others who understand your daily routine and its ins and outs.  It can be 10 minutes to pray with other Christian teachers/friends.  Or it can just be 10 minutes to say, “hey, we are here for you, what are your concerns for this week?”  Because it is a limited amount of time, you can schedule it in the morning, during lunch or a break, after school, or even for a bit in the evening if you all live in close proximity.

You can also schedule one day a week to eat together.  It can be a potluck that rotates to different teachers’ houses or a park.  Or it could be a favorite restaurant.  The biggest criteria for this is not a whole lot of prep work.  Just fellowship and support!

Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Struggles

I think that sometimes we feel like we have to carry the whole world on our shoulders.  We can’t look weak.  We have to look like we’ve got everything under control from day 1.  But none of us does!  We may have it together for some snippet of time.  But nobody has it all together all the time.  We all struggle!

And that’s okay–because it makes us human!

I can’t tell you how many people would ask my advice and I would tell them how I did what they were asking about.  But I was also brutally honest about my shortcomings or what I needed to do to get to the point of what they were asking about.  And so many of them would give a sigh of relief and say that they were so happy to hear that it was okay to be less than perfect.  And it was even more okay for others to know that.

We are all human.  And we are all doing the best we can most of the time.  And that is okay!

I can 100% guarantee that someone else has struggled with the same thing you have.  The circumstances may be a little bit different. But the struggle remains the same.

So share your struggles!  Someone else will be so grateful that they are not walking this road alone.  And that they are okay where they are at in their journey.

Conclusion

I can probably list about 20 more things that teachers could do to support each other.  There are so many opportunities.  So please see if you can do a few things this week to make someone else’s day brighter.  And  you will find your own day so much more fulfilling.  Not because you got everything done in your lesson plans (does that really ever happen?) but because you put a smile on someone else’s face.

 

If you enjoyed this article about how teachers can support each other, you may enjoy my article on ways that teachers can be more encouraging to their students.  Read that one here.

This Post Has 51 Comments

  1. Cristina Petrini

    The support more than ever must come between colleagues in order to be able to give them really and concretely to the students.

  2. Amber Myers

    I love when teachers support one another. I think it does help a ton. As a parent, I try to help teachers as much as I can as well.

    1. Marie

      I can guarantee you, the teachers are grateful for your support!

  3. Juicer Reviews Pro

    Team work is the best way to support each other at places of work. I am not a teacher but I am aware of the many challenges that teachers go through. Your tips on ways that teachers can support one another are quite helpful.

  4. Cristina Pop

    I love supporting other people, but unfortunately I don’t always know the right way how to do it. You have some great ideas here! I love them!

    1. Marie

      Over time it gets easier to know how to help. If I am not sure how, I will ask. Thank you, Cristina!

    1. Marie

      Yes! These are really good for people in any relationship, business or personal! Support is a human need. Thank you for your thoughts!

  5. I think in any industry, it is important for people to find the right support system from within. Some people can be awful. But when you make an effort to choose the right people to surround you, obstacles become a possible feat.

  6. Brittany

    Such an important post! I love that there is conversation about how teachers can encourage and support one another. Bless teachers hearts! I am so thankful for them!

  7. Jessica Joachim

    My sister is a teacher and it is such a difficult job. I really do think it is so important that teachers uplift and support each other.

    1. Marie

      Yes, Jessica! They already put up with so much craziness. It makes the support that much sweeter!

  8. flawlessfooduk

    It is so important to support each other for the sake of the kids. We all have our strengths and weaknesses so must help out and receive help where needed.

  9. Joanna

    This is a very interesting subject and I have to admit that I never thought about it before. I used to be friends with a teacher during highschool, as we used to take the same bus to school, and she would tell me about her struggles in the teacher’s lounge.

    1. Marie

      That is awesome that she felt comfortable confiding in you, Joanna!

  10. Candace Hampton

    This is good to know. I think that it’s really important to have support within coworkers or colleagues. It’s not a competition, it’s about being a team and making things happen. Interesting info.

    1. Marie

      Exactly, Candace! As soon as people realize it isn’t a competition and instead start supporting each other, the more amazing the teamwork begins to be! And crazy good stuff starts to happen.

  11. I agree that teachers have a hard job. I think you did a great job at pointing out ways they can support one another.

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Lisa!

  12. As soon as I read the title of your blog post the first thing that came to mind is why don’t experienced teachers in a subject support the newer ones. Yes, every class and student is different but I am sure that there are little golden nuggets that can help.

  13. rachel

    This is really important. I need to know, as a parent, how I can support my childrens teachers, too!

    1. Marie

      Yes, Rachel! Teachers love getting support from parents even more than other teachers. Knowing that the parents trust them with their kids is a huge deal! And most teachers really do work so hard for the good of their students.

  14. joanna

    I can imagine that it feels good to talk to each other, especially when you have problematic children in class who don’t behave. Tackling the issues together definitely leads to solutions.

  15. Cristina Petrini

    I was very pleased to read this article and to discover and touch the concrete way in which you teachers support yourself.

  16. Kathy Kenny Ngo

    I think that this is very important because teachers these days are very much overworked. They need support, not just from others but most especially from one another.

  17. Bella

    This is such a great post, its so important to talk about these things. They need support and comfort.

  18. this is a great post. many hands do make light work. i think of a friend who’s a K teacher and how the two other K teachers are discouraging and not helpful even when they come together to prep lessons. so sad when that happens.

  19. Ann

    When I was younger I worked as a teachers assistant and as a afterschool activity leader, I had about 30 minute break between them so I had to learn to leave the first job mentally really quick. So we set a timer for ten minutes, poured it out, and then you had to leave it. That really helped my a lot

  20. ashley

    I’m not a teacher but these are really great ways to support each other.

  21. Gervin Khan

    Not a teacher but I like hearing teachers supporting each other most especially during their hard times.

  22. Melanie williams

    This is so important for sure. Teachers should be there to support each other especially at times like this x

  23. Melanie Frost

    Teachers really do have to put up with and handle a lot. It takes a really special person to be a teacher. This has given me a new perspective on how teachers feel on the inside too. I will definitely be more mindful of this as well!

  24. Steven Morrissette

    I like the way you explain how teachers help out each other. Also I like the fact that you guys try to complement each other with each other strength.

  25. Nkem

    Gossiping is a pretty bad pastime in general, one which I’m guilty of, but especially as a teacher, and especially if it’s about the students. So, I like that you mentioned gossiping about the positive stuff. 🙂

  26. Monidipa

    I loved reading this one and have already shared before commenting. I believe When educators work together, they form important professional and personal relationships. Teachers often draw support from each another and can delegate tasks that allow each teacher to feel effective. Collaboration between teachers contributes to school improvement and student success.

  27. Daniel Sierra

    Having the support of other teachers is a great motivation to keep going when you are having one of those moments. I always enjoy after class meetings with other teachers to discuss different topics, even not work-related it has helped us build a great bond on our school!

  28. Sushmita

    This support is very important. My MIL recently resigned from being a kindergarten teacher because of lack of support, as she is not really tech-savvy and the present situation required that! Thanks for this article

  29. Nnnniiiccceeeee….keep sharing the struggles we all go through. That way, we offer some sort of counselling that is much needed.

  30. tweenselmom

    Teachers have a really important job and your post made it clearer! This article was a nice read, thank you for sharing!

  31. Emman Damian

    I think gossips should be minimized. It’s really not healthy. It doesn’t help anyone.

  32. Lily

    I think its great when teachers can lean on each other. I think this school year even more even if it is via zoom due to the pandemic.

  33. My Kitchen

    I hope most teachers will read your article.I agree teachers have hard jobs especially those who teach nursery to grade 3.it’s not easy dealing with kids.

  34. Adebimpe

    Teachers face many challenges, support for each other can help alleviate most of the unnecessary challenges that may arise. This article is highly recommended.

  35. Elizabeth O

    It is really important to support each other, no matter what. They have a tough work an they need to lean to each other.

  36. Mudpiefridyas

    This is a great post to ponder. I love that topic. It shows how supporting each other being formed in our daily living.

  37. Candy Rachelle

    I could never be a teacher. It wold frustrate me to the limit at the beginning of the school year…learning new names and faces, aclimating to different personalities, getting the classroom and agenda in order, etc, etc, etc. When my kids were in elementary school, I was always there to help support their teachers and school. I’m sure it’s sometimes difficult to do, but it’s awesome when teachers support each other, even when they are overwhelmed.

    Candy Rachelle
    Keeping Up With Candy
    http://www.keepingupwithcandy.com

  38. Jessie

    Teachers need all the support they can get. I don’t know how they do it all, especially during times like these. THANK YOU TEACHERS!

  39. Rank Minister

    I can’t thank you enough for this! One of the things that came to mind is why don’t experienced teachers in the subject support the newer ones. Why does every teacher want to be the best in the school these days? We now ignore the fact that we need to help each other grow so that our pupils can’t have a better understanding.

    1. Marie

      Thank you for your kind words. And you are so right. One of the best ways teachers can function is as a team, never as the “best in the school.” The more teachers work together, the more students will learn, not just about the academics, but about life lived well.

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