So today I am going to talk about MY classroom! Yes, the school and its teachers are MY classroom, and just like a classroom teacher, I get jazzed when my students (my awesome team of teachers) take risks and grow and demonstrate mastery of their learning.
I have one teacher who took the teacher leadership challenge, and she is helping others grow as well. Since it is appraisal season, I was having one of those sit-down conversations with a strong teacher at our school. I was discussing the topic of teacher leadership with her. I shared that I wanted her to take on more leadership roles. Because she is a quality teacher, she was not afraid to raise questions with me. She shared that she felt she had missed the opportunity to lead in formal ways because grade chairs, school improvement team positions, and other formal leadership roles were already distributed. That is when we got down to some "real talk." I shared with her that my vision for the school was of a collaborative work force, and that I wanted to see leadership formally and informally. SHE WANTED TO KNOW MORE. I explained that teacher leadership should be exhibited by all teachers who have something to offer others. I wanted her to take on leadership roles that were beyond the status quo. I wanted her to be a "go-to" girl for new teachers, for her colleagues, and someone who positively impacts our campus for the greater good of our students. I began to see a gleam in her eyes. This was a paradigm shift for her, but it was one she quickly adopted. Sitting in the chair in front of me and my assistant principal, she paused for a few seconds, and then she said, "Can you give me some examples?" I was amused by her enthusiasm and energy. I shared that there were a group of new teachers on campus who needed some help with their action research plans. I shared that we needed to be able to assist some of the new teachers with getting activated on Twitter since we were coming up on our second school #EdChat (#CherryElem). She said, "Okay, I will do that." Well, she wasn't kidding. She was SERIOUS and she meant BUSINESS! She walked out of my office, and went directly to the new teachers and asked them how she could help. She called me about an hour later, as it was getting dark on campus, and she said, "Hey, I am helping this new teacher and we have a question about the action research plan requirements." I got a huge smile on my face, and I was speechless! We talked through how to support that teacher. Then, the very next day, she got one of the new teachers on Twitter which is the picture you see above.
Staff empowerment is such an important gift for our teachers. Teachers should not have to wait for a CEO type Principal to hand down decisions from above. Teachers should be empowered to come up with creative and innovative solutions on their own with collaborative input and monitoring by administration.
I have many others like her on my campus. She, and other teachers like her... are the wind beneath my wings....