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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET    THE ROLE OF THE EDUCATION LEADER   Teachers have to constantly put themselves in the minds of their learners. These little learners are developmentally far from adult reasoning and behaviors. The kindergarten teacher has to think like a five-​year-​old in order to find the right activities, materials, pace, and safety measures. And not just for one five-​year-​ old, but twenty of them! The teacher of fifteen-​month-​old Sofia not only has to know that climbing on the shelf is developmentally appropriate but also that the toddler still needs to be stopped. The teacher of nine-​month-​old Alex has to understand that his crying is due to separation anxiety, and her job is to comfort both the baby and his mother—​because teaching young children means working with the parents of children too. Adding parents to the mix makes the job even more challenging. Teachers who started with hope and good intentions are leaving for other jobs at a fast rate, both in the private sector and in public schools. The main reason for dissatisfaction on the job is the lack of professional and emotional support. Teachers feel alone. They feel that they are on their own against all the pressures of the job. Even if they work in teams, the majority of their time is spent interacting with little people who have limited vocabularies, are ego­ centric, and are learning self-​control. They do feel depleted at the end of the day! Instead of ignoring or adding to teachers’ challenging daily work, feelings of isolation, and exhaustion, let’s evaluate and support them. Let’s find the value in teachers and reflect it back to them. Let’s hold up and stand by teachers. Let’s encourage and strengthen them. INTRODUCING THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR EVALUATING AND SUPPORTING TEACHERS The field of early childhood education can be proud of having good research in child development and developmentally appropriate practices. We have enough information to have top-quality classrooms, but we are missing an aspect of the equation that prevents us from applying that information most effectively. We have not figured out a way to evaluate and support teachers that is calm, clear, consistent, and effective; we are not adequately measuring or nurturing teachers’ growth, which means we are limiting the quality of education for children. One of the reasons for this problem may be that many education leaders start out as teachers and move through the ranks with little or no training on how to adequately evaluate and support adult teachers. Even so, education leaders have a wealth of knowledge from their experience as (or with) teachers. What if COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 9