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How Admins at International Schools Should Interact with Teachers

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The administration of any school is going to be a part of any educator's daily life. That's just as true when teaching abroad as it is at home. You may even start out as an international educator, and get promoted into administration. Admins can be very helpful, particularly for teachers who have just moved into a new country. But they can also ruin the experience for everyone if they don't know how to deal with people.

The way admins interact with educators is incredibly important. When done right, it will make the school a better place. When done wrong, they will make it hell on earth. With that in mind, I wanted to create a brief guide to how admins should interact with teachers on staff.

·      Never belittle them. Everyone has to start somewhere, and not everyone can be good at everything. Trying to make a teacher feel bad is not going to improve their performance. Instead, praise them for what they are doing well and then suggest improvements. They'll much more likely accomplish what you want them to do.

·      Do not ever correct or criticize them in front of the students. A teacher is only effective if he or she has the respect of their charges. If students see an admin correct a teacher, they will lose respect for them and make their teaching job considerably more difficult.

·      Treat men and women equally. There can be a tendency in some cultures to interact differently with female staff members than with male ones. Remember that English-speaking teachers tend to come from countries with social equality for men and women, and will not react well to being treated differently.

·      Do not bring up their lifestyle choices. If they are married or single, straight or gay, or somewhere in between is not any of your business. That is their personal life and is not something you should discuss with them.

·      Never raise your voice when interacting with them. If you feel the need to yell, you have already lost the moral high ground of your argument.

·      Do not use offensive language. There is never any need to use language that could be considered defamatory or obscene. You would not accept that from students, so you shouldn't practice it yourself.

·      Do not make teachers feel dumb for asking what you think is a “simple” question. Remember that they are often new to your culture and your school, and you want them to ask questions before they make mistakes.

·      Be very aware of your body language when you talk to teachers. It is easy for things to start to feel threatening without you realizing it.

·      Do be as patient as possible. A school is a place of learning for everyone, students and teachers alike. Helping people become better teachers in a respectful way is good for your school and your career.

      Lastly, understand that every teacher and administrator has to put on different hats at different times and that we will all be both a teacher and an administrator during the same school year.  Teachers take on roles that help the school in an administrative capacity and vice versa.  We are all in this together and that is the only way a school will ever be successful!

cc InternationalEducators.com



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