I am fortunate to be employed in an environment that is supportive of teachers taking initiative and becoming teacher leaders. I was even told, “anoint yourself ‘Teacher Leader’”, by my department chair during my very first week in the building. It is clear that my value is not based on number of years I have taught or solely on the test scores from my classes, but also on my contribution to the school community. This invitation to lead from my administration has fueled my passion for sharing instructional strategies and tools with my colleagues and the world.
When I heard about #leadershipday14, I was inspired to participate in the challenge to speak (blog) about the role of administrators in fostering innovative technology-based programs in the P-12 setting.
The first concept in which I differ from other points of view on the subject is how I define my expectation of administrators. I expect effective leaders to not limit themselves by doing the modeling of practice themselves. Our current P-12 system removes our school-wide leaders from the classroom in order to perform their duties. There are many reasons for this, but it leaves us in a situation in which implementation is not modeled directly. Rather, it is the role of the administrator to inspire teacher leaders to provide the most current and relevant models of good practice.
I also differ from others when I believe the role of administrator does not include uncovering all applicable research to improve teaching practice. Instead, I suspect that inspired and empowered teacher leaders would find more relevant and timely resources to share. The role of the administrator then becomes the ‘disseminator’ of the information and the platform to support teacher-led professional development.
In order for an administrator to be both of the above, it is critical that they recognize two things:
- The potential for leadership in their employees
- How to empower teachers to rise and lead in areas like technology (especially in areas they might not be experts in)
As I am already fortunate to have received this call to leadership in my building, I challenge other administrators to lead their schools into the future by lifting up the gifted and curious among their staff and anointing them – teacher leaders.