When one thinks of leadership in a school, they usually associate the term with a person that possesses a position of power. True, someone like a principal of a school is a leader with a title. They are responsible for those they supervise, carrying out the mission of the organization, motivating the troops, and creating a shared vision and culture for the school. If they are really great, they also find time to work as an instructional coach and make those they serve around them better. But with principals being as busy as they are today, if they aren’t finding the time to build capacity in those they serve then who is inspiring educators to model a growth mindset consistently?
In my opinion, one of the biggest areas lacking in teacher professional development is teachers having someone act as a coach or mentor to improve them as educators. Professional development is powerful when educators seek it out on social media or it is done correctly within the limited time given during a school year, but learning is a continuous process in order for it to be effective. So if principals aren’t able to find the time to work closely with their teachers, then who should?
If one looks close enough around a school, leaders are everywhere and they come in all forms! “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams. We need lead teachers, department chairs, curriculum directors, tech coaches, and those who are pioneering to help all educators grow in our buildings. It is a shared experience! When everyone in an organization is learning and growing together, there is no limit to what schools can do for kids.
Here are a few ways everyone can help each other build capacity within a building and be better for the children we serve:
- Make sure that everyone understands the POWER of Twitter. There are still a ton of educators who don’t know what a Twitter chat is and how impactful they can be. Not to mention there are hundreds of them throughout the week and weekends. Also, schools should have a hashtag where all educators in that building can share and collaborate. Wouldn’t it be neat instead of a faculty meeting from 3 till 4 it was done in a chat format? Imagine how much learning could and would happen!
- Build more time into schedules that force educators to share with others. Often, we get so locked into our own classrooms that we have no clue what is going on great in others rooms. Sharing is caring! Educators should to go visit five other teachers throughout the school year and discuss/reflect on it. Also, don’t be scared to ask each other what amazing things you are doing in your classrooms and share.
- Conduct peer evaluations. For those that are tenured, evaluations happen once every three years. If we want to help each other become better teachers, why not evaluate and give feedback to each other in a positive format? If my department is five people, we all take turns going into each other’s classrooms and evaluate our strengths and things we could improve.
- Create a book study group where educators in your school pick a book each month, read it and discuss it. Or, have a bi-weekly tech/hot education topic meet-up somewhere off campus. It is healthy to get together with your peers and discuss ideas in a fun way.
- Reinforce the positives. They are so many positives happening within our school that they sometimes get overlooked by the negatives. Whenever and wherever, share the positives because they make us proud to work in education and want to keep bettering ourselves for our students. We all have something to be grateful for during the good and bad times!
About the blogger: Rob Donatelli is a business & computer science teacher at Dallastown Area High School in York, PA. He is also the founder of the Donatelli EdZone. His education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Management & Marketing from York College of PA and Master’s degree in Business Education from Robert Morris University. Rob’s passions include school leadership, education technology, presenting, entrepreneurship, and coaching. Follow and connect with him on YouTube at the Donatelli EdZone or on Twitter at @DTown_MrD.
This blog post was relaunched on mbea-ma.org with permission from the blogger. You may find the original post HERE.