Professional Development Texas Leadership Standards Uncategorized

Helping Resistant Teachers Become Resilient

Most teachers resist change due to a fear of uncertainty, which results in an emotional reaction to finding a solution that is the least painful. Such reaction may spread and impact the school climate and creating a toxic school culture. Bohn (2014) states that most resistant teachers can develop into resilient teachers by using a situational leadership approach. A leader who uses a situational leadership approach is able to identify which type of leadership to use based on the knowledge they have of their teachers’ beliefs. Therefore, an effective leader would categorize teachers by the different types of resistance showcased by their actions.

Some teachers might be resistant to the administrators’ vision for the campus. From my personal experience when veteran teachers have been at a campus for a good number of years under the same administration, their resistance is evident due to a lack of trust on the new administrative team. This type of resistance can be changed by working closely with those teachers letting them know that they will be supported while they positively impact student learning.

A second type of resistance deals with teachers that show a lack of confidence in their skills when a new initiative may be implemented or a change in their teaching practice gets affected. As a team leader, I have evidenced this resistance when a new approach to teaching – Project-Based Learning – was assigned to the elementary campus where I taught for about 5 years. Although the administrative team provided the required professional development days for teachers to become familiar with the new approach, a lack of consistency and follow-up negatively impacted teachers’ confidence when planning and delivering in the classroom. As a result, teachers morale went down and most teachers continued using the traditional teaching approach they had used in the past. As an instructional leader, I need to know the behaviors and beliefs of the staff so that I can choose the appropriate leadership approach to develop the teacher. When teachers are asked to move out of their comfort zone, resistance to change takes over. However, such reactions can be addressed by providing immediate feedback and celebrating small successes, which in turn will help build a school culture where risk-taking and failing are part of the learning process.

Knowing the different types of behaviors and beliefs teachers possess allows instructional leaders to use different leadership approaches that foster a resilient learning community of teachers. As an instructional leader, I need to be skillful in getting to know each teacher on campus. Such information will provide a better insight on how to develop teachers and create a school culture in which teachers feel vulnerable to take risks and make change happen.

Bohn, J. (2014, February). Turning Resistant Teachers into Resilient Teachers. ASCD, 9(10)

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