Another key aspect of working in a school is planning your education strategy and implementation. Here are some tips for making sure that once you get into a classroom, you succeed with both students and staff.
- Choose a Delivery Method: Healthy relationships curricula can be taught either by classroom teachers or trained outside educators, depending on the requirements of the particular curriculum. In deciding which route to take, be sure to consider the pros and cons unique to each approach (see Pro/Con list below).
- Invest in Teachers: Enthusiastic teachers make anything possible. Start Strong sites found that teachers’ enthusiasm for and comfort with the material was the single biggest predictor of a program’s success at any given school. Ensure curriculum success by investing in teachers through training, support and supplies. To foster interest and expertise among teachers, keep an open dialogue with them. Make sure you are providing motivation through support from school administration or incentives, when appropriate and allowed.
- Face Your Challenges: Using an in-school curriculum has the potential to impact a huge number of students, yet can also pose big challenges. In Start Strong’s experience, in-school programming requires intensive preparation and troubleshooting. Factors like school staffing and administration changes, testing and budget issues can all disrupt your curriculum delivery. It’s important to know and believe that your program can still make a difference even when faced with unexpected bumps along the way.
Pros and Cons: Curriculum Delivery
Teachers Deliver Curriculum
- Have strong connections with students already.
- Can become champions and hold leverage within the school system.
- Using existing teaching resources may decrease implementation costs.
- Increases capacity of school to prevent and respond to TDV
- Teachers’ comfort levels and willingness to participate may differ greatly.
Outside Educators Deliver Curriculum
- Gives you more control of the delivery of the lessons (more consistency and fidelity to the curriculum).
- Insulates program from teacher or administration turnover.
- Presents opportunity to use volunteers (so long as they are trained).
- Fresh faces can change the school climate.
- Younger educators may establish better rapport with students.
- Can take longer to build credibility, support and rapport with students and staff.
- Can be more costly.