Our last blogpost introduced characteristics of the new cohort of educators that is joining the teaching workforce this year: Gen Z. In that post, we revealed easy ways to attract, retain, develop, and engage this global generation of teachers. Here follow a few more Z-friendly strategies that may also prove useful to facilitate their adaptation to the daily and authentic adventures of the teaching profession.
Model more than command and listen more than tell.
Gen Z novice educators value some specific characteristics in their leaders. This young demographic cohort, a social-first generation, values leaders who walk the talk. Model, more than tell, authentic classroom-proven routines and activities to get the staff engaged and motivated.
Also remember this generation of teachers expects to have a say: become an active listener and offer your 24/7 back-up to help Z teachers achieve institutional, personal, and professional goals. Gauge teachers’ readiness and differentiate them right from the start. Identify their most relevant interests and discuss their personal and professional SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Make learning agreements that suit their learning needs and set aims in accordance. That will work!
Teach (or re-teach) how to collaborate effectively.
Help Gen Z educators bring the best out of them through collaborative work. Foster positive interdependence and individual accountability as a means of contributing effectively towards common goals. Make effective collaboration central!
Crowdsourcing, obtaining help via the Internet, may be considered a valid alternative to maximize energy and results by novice gen Z educators. That may imply the exposure of delicate institutional issues to the online community and negative collateral effects. To avoid misunderstandings and unpleasant situations, make your rules clear from the start.
Demonstrate to make-risk safe.
Learning by doing is a must for Gen Zers. If you step in their classes and detect an urgent need to do so, model alternative or better desired behaviors right on the spot. Openly invite their classes to participate in the attempt, making it clear that also in learning, as in any endeavor, success or failure depends on all stakeholders: students, teachers and heads in equal terms.
If possible, help novice teachers drill expected behavior in search of desirable outcomes in your institution (from lessons to report-cards going through hypothetical parents’ meetings). Use imaginary characters or well-known cartoons as prompts to focus on the situational context of any necessary course of action. This risk-averse generation of educators will surely value the extra help.
Finally, copycat to synergize.
Gen Z teachers are full of eagerness and excitement to make a contribution to the world through their daily work and enjoy the challenge that comes with it. Celebrate learning with them and from them.
After all, we are all in the teaching profession for the same purpose!