As the school’s administrator, you are charged with the responsibility to provide engaging and rigorous activities, yet some administrators may wonder how this is possible since you are not directly in the classroom on a daily basis.
Encourage Engaging Lessons
Being the instructional leader means you can encourage teachers to provide engaging activities that allows the student to “do the doing.” Gone are the days where the teacher stands and lectures while students take notes. Instead, students want to be active participants in the lesson. This may mean students work together in partners or small groups to solve a problem or create an alternate ending to a story. As the principal walks around from room to room observing activities, they may ask students questions, allowing them to explain what is being learned. This helps the students see the administrator is interested in what they are doing, and it shows the teacher that the administrator is aware of engaging opportunities being offered to students. Such opportunities can also be discussed during evaluation post-conferences so that teachers are aware of the expectation to include engaging lessons in all subjects.
Provide Engaging Activities
Afterschool clubs are another way an administrator can engage students in school activities. These clubs may be an extension of classroom learning, such as math club, creative writing club, or a foreign language club. They could also be more interest-driven organizations such as drama club, Lego club, or a music group. In addition, you could provide athletic activities for students not involved in school sports. Such activities could include a walking club or other hobby-sport opportunities.
Invest in Technology
We live in a technology-driven world. While many might argue that students get plenty of screen time at home, others realize the value of incorporating technology in the classroom. Students can become instantly engaged in a learning opportunity when placed on a skills-based site that encourages participation and provides instant feedback. The administrator can encourage this by purchasing the technology and access to research-based sites, but also by understanding the value of this engagement when walking through a classroom where students are working one-on-one on valid and reliable sites.
Finally, one of the most valuable means of engaging students is by building a trusting and respectful culture. When an administrator is visible and interacting with students, they feel valued and this builds their desire to be at school. Spending time greeting students as they enter each day and being there when they are leaving is a great start. In addition, when students know the administrator is approachable, they are likely to engage in conversations which can lead to trust and sharing of important information. Most of all, when students are empowered to be leaders and know their voices are heard, they will be more engaged. This might come through organizations such as Student Council, but it can also be through other means as well. It is up to the administrator to create and encourage opportunities where students feel eager to participate.