Tonight I had the pleasure of participating in the #LearnLap Twitter chat (Mondays, 8PM ET/ 5PM PT). This chat based on the book Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz, is something I try not to miss. Not only is the PLN great, but it always leaves me with great information and something to think about. The topic tonight was Teacher-Leaders.
The first question raised tonight was what makes a Teacher-Leader? Is it just sharing what you're doing, both the successes and the failures? Is is helping others when you're in a leadership position? For me, the answer was easy. A Teacher-Leader is one who puts the students first, shares and helps others put students first, and is willing to take risks to do both of the above. Based on this definition, I have become a Teacher-Leader by accident.
Recently I have been asked to put in writing my background experience, not quite a resume, but close enough. Boy was I surprised to see how long I have been helping other teachers . (13 years on the Leadership team?! That one blew my mind!) The difference is I wasn't always thinking of the students first when I did it. There were always other purposes behind my actions. Now, my role with other educators has taken more of a collaborative approach. How can I help you (fill in the blank) with your students to make it more innovative/tech appropriate/engaging? No longer is the focus on what I can do, but what we can do together, with the students at the heart. I think this is also a reflection of how my classroom has changed.
I have become more aware of my role in helping others step up their leadership game as well. There are several teachers on my campus who I have encouraged to share what they are doing, through professional conferences and district PD. They feel they aren't really doing anything worthy of sharing with others. What I am trying to get them to see is that being a Teacher-Leader doesn't mean you do everything perfectly or are better than others. It just means you have something to share that may help another teacher who is struggling in some way or maybe you can inspire someone to try different.
When I started to write, I thought about a comment one of my colleagues made today about how our staff seems to be much more ahead in our ability to integrate tech into the classroom and for professional uses. My friend, Cori Orlando, reminded me that everyone has a different starting point. This would have been the perfect time for me to talk to my colleagues about being Teacher-Leaders themselves to spread what we are doing at our school with those around the district.
I believe everyone has the ability to be a Teacher-Leader. Find your strength and share it with others. For educators, this means your students. For others, it might mean becoming a blogger who shares her thoughts, hoping others can be inspired to change up their classroom.
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching