Head Start preschool teachers felt like they lack administrative support. Namely, they lack support from their immediate supervisor, the Center Director. Nearly all preschool teachers interviewed from the ten centers stated that they could use more support from their Center Directors. Many preschool teachers stated that they had only seen their Center Director in passing, the Center Director stopping by for a quick ‘hello’, and some stated that they had never spoken with their Center Director.
When preschool teachers did see the Center Director for any length of time, most of the preschool teachers stated this was because the Center Director had come into their classroom to conduct an observational assessment. Preschool teachers would like their Center Director to mentor/coach/advise them on a routine basis, as opposed to simply monitoring/observing them and then leaving the classroom. Most of the Classroom Assistants stated if the Center Director did talk to a teacher, they spoke with only the Lead Teacher, the Family Child Educator, and neglected speaking with the Classroom Assistant.
Preschool teachers emphasized that they didn’t receive quality support from people from administration. Preschool teachers stated that the education specialists visited their rooms the most, followed by the resource specialists (special needs team). However, they stated that the education specialist either just observed or they reviewed the classroom set-up and portfolios and then spoke with the teachers about those issues. All of the preschool teachers stated that they had not received any feedback regarding their curriculum/lesson plan and how it pertains to the Reggio-Emilia philosophy that was employed at the beginning of the school year. Preschool teachers stated that they are basing their lesson plans off of their one week of training or other trainings that they have received from non-Head Start staff. Most of the preschool teachers stated that they had no idea how to exactly implement Reggio, since no one, including education specialists and Center Directors had informed them beyond the 1 week of training prior to the school year starting. Many of the preschool teachers also stated that the resource specialists only monitored if children with individualized education plans (IEPs) had their goals on the Lesson Plans. They also stated that the resource specialists mainly only asked them if they needed any support. Most of the preschool teachers stated that although the resource specialists were friendly and offered help, they didn’t fully know if they were executing the IEPs correctly. Preschool teachers further emphasized that they did not receive enough behavioral management support.
Preschool teachers stated that if they felt close to their Center Director and felt supported by other administrative departments, they would be more likely to stay working for the company. However, at present, teachers are saying that they are not supported to the extent that they would like to be.