Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, news, and advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

Written by Dr. Lisa Strohman
on July 12, 2022

Time never ceases to fly by, and the summer months are no exception. As vacations draw to a close, it is time to plan for what your staff and students will require this school year. Students will no doubt return to school expecting a ‘new’ old normal post-covid. Establishing policies for students and staff that support absences and sick days will be important. Parents now place more value on working from home and on keeping their kids out of school when threat of illness exists.

It is vital to provide regular check-ins with your staff and offer opportunities for them to voice their concerns. Do you have a solid substitute list for when your staff needs to take time off? Are you holding monthly staff meetings? Maybe you have a suggestion box or you provide convenient office hours.

This summer my office has been inundated with teachers, administrators, and coaches from all ranges of schools. Some have been lucky enough to take time off, go on vacation, and recharge. Most have not had this luxury. Parenting responsibilities, extra jobs, and maybe even moving do not allow the needed ‘time-off’ to be utilized. Remember this when the new year begins and some of your staff is just as exhausted as they were when the school year ended. How will you support them? Will you be able to provide them with the coping skills and the tools to remain focused? You can familiarize yourself with some of these coping ideas and keep them in your back pocket.

Reflecting on the massive shift we are enduring going from a covid environment (that we all adapted to very quickly!) to a new normal is a worthwhile tool to support your staff. It always helps to consider where you have come from, i.e. covid challenges, and where you are trying to reach, a better normal. How can you include your staff and teachers in this? Should your families be included in this? Perhaps have your families share a reflection with the teachers so that the teachers have some insight into each of the families they are connecting to? Also consider that you may have new teachers who are joining your staff, while others may have retired. This can strain your staffing as teachers and coaches step up to fill the void. How are you rewarding and recognizing them for stepping up?

Teachers are the heroes responsible for our children’s development. You do everything you can to support, educate, and keep a healthy, happy environment. Make sure you are talking, sharing ideas, and giving support to one another.

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