What can school leaders do to support teachers in building stronger relationships with students?
As a school leader who has served as a classroom teacher, school principal, and university faculty member, I have interviewed countless candidates for teaching and leadership positions. Whether I am selecting a preschool teacher, a biology department chair, a brand new assistant principal, or a veteran middle school principal, I always ask this question: How will you address challenging student behaviors?
I want to know how teacher candidates will respond when a student refuses to work or tries to gain footing as a peer leader by bullying others. Will this teacher be able to relate to the student who comes to school hungry on Monday because he has been left unattended—and unfed—all weekend? What will this candidate think of the 2nd grader who steps off the bus and casually drops an "f-bomb" on the way into school? How will this educator respond when looking into the eyes of a defiant freshman daring the teacher to send her out of the classroom?