Principals may feel caught in the middle during a teacher strike. While they support their teachers, they also work for the district making their role a little tricky. In Samantha Cleaver’s article she lists the below ways that principals can support teachers during a strike without picking a side.
- Make your role clear: Communicate to your staff that you support them and let them know you’ll handle things in their absence.
- Be prepared: This may mean that you have to cover a classroom for the day or fill in for cafeteria duty. As the date of the strike gets closer, prepare plans for students (worksheets, online assignments, etc.) so they can continue learning while their teachers are out.
- Encourage teacher leaders to join the picket line: Allow them to take a side while you take the role of “management” until the strike is over. Role model how to be an effective leader during a stressful time.
- Wake up early: Make sure to arrive at school prior to picket lines forming so you don’t have to cross them. Avoiding crossing the picket line, allows you to remain as neutral as possible.
- Maintain the communication channels: Keep the school website and social media channels updated during the strike so families know what to expect.
- Don’t fall into using old tropes: Avoid saying things like, “we wouldn’t teach if we didn’t love it” and instead acknowledge how hard your teachers work each and every day. Let them know that you agree they deserve better.
- Put relationships first: Once the strike is over, you have the opportunity to expand your positive school culture. Welcome your teachers back with handshakes and smiles much like you would on the first day of school.