The Us in Them

Submitted By:
Greg Chalfin, The Walker School, Marietta, GA

With teacher burnout at historic rates and worries about retention and recruitment of faculty rising, Jen Schwanke's The Teacher's Principal: How School Leaders Can Support and Motivate Their Teachers is a timely discussion of a relevant topic for school leaders. Schwanke frames the motivations of teachers around three topics – purpose, priorities, and patterns – offering school administrators various tools and practical applications to build on positivity and address negativity. Mixing anecdotes from her own personal experience as a principal with educational literature and research, Schwanke provides administrators with a narrative that gives empathy to their experiences over the last few years. Schwanke challenges traditional notions of accountability, names challenging behaviors, and provides a solution-oriented approach to supporting educators from leadership roles. Moreover, while brief in length, Schwanke's address of inclusion within schools provides practical methods for leaders to address marginalization and exclusion. Schwanke concludes with a discussion of juggling the many balls that come with being a school leader, recommendations for self-care, and thoughts on evaluating one's own efforts. Leadership positions can feel isolating. Schwanke's text provides a reminder of the difference they can make for teachers and schools.

Leadership Practice