Over this ongoing series of eight posts, we are identifying and addressing the seven primary barriers to changing instructional practices and the appropriate response by leadership. I present to you Part 6 in The Response to Barriers Series – Helplessness.


Sadly, there are those in our profession who have given up hope. They truly believe that what they do in the classroom does not matter. Their driving focus is to simply survive another day. At the many identified challenged schools across the country this is more common than anyone likes to admit.  With these staff you have to become the “Stockdale Paradox” salesman.  (The Stockdale Paradox: The acceptance of the brutal truth while believing that if you continue to do the right thing you will persevere.)


You have to communicate how the training provided will lead to a more successful classroom. You have to track progress and celebrate forward movement. You have to talk to your staff and get them to begin to believe in themselves. Remind them that if the student is coming to school there is something in them that we can still reach.  And remind them that because they choose to work where many won’t they are just a little more special than other teachers.


With the teachers that feel helpless, you aren’t going to be successful by being a bigger bully, they are already beat down.  Instead you have to be the church leader and get them to believe.


Here is the good news, if staff are stuck due to the issues of helplessness, you are a critical part of the solution.


RTB – Part 1: Response to Ignorance

RTB – Part 2: Response to Inadequate Training

RTB – Part 3: Response to Habit

RTB – Part 4: Response to Choice

RTB – Part 5: Response to Fear

RTB – Part 6: Response to Helplessness

RTB – Part 7: Response to Obstinance

RTB – Recap


Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…

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