Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Encouraging a Global Viewpoint by Starting Small

This weeks' post comes from a paper I had to write reflecting on a two-year program I just completed known as Statewide Communities of Practice for Excellence in partnership with the University of Virginia. The reflection involved reviewing Fullan's What's Worth Fighting For in the Principalship. This reflection reminded me that I can't always wait for those above me to make change happen. Sometimes I need to be the catalyst.

This excerpt discusses developing teacher leaders. How have you helped your teachers think globally?

The PLC is a team effort, with each member having, and being held accountable for, an important role. PLC norms are developed and agreed upon at the beginning of the school year, and revisited throughout. The PLC goes beyond agendas and minutes. To the teachers who are a part of it, the PLC signifies a voice, a role in the decision making process, and, most importantly shared leadership. A building can no longer be run by just one person. It’s up to administrators to nurture teacher leadership by providing opportunities for teachers to be leaders. A teacher who starts out as the person in charge of the meeting minutes during PLC time could turn into your next department chair, division level committee member, or building level administrator.

My desire to develop teacher leaders actually aided in my personal goal of “putting myself out there” more and as Fullan (2008)   puts it, “linking to the outside”. When two colleagues and I heard about what Hanover County was doing with the “Eyes on Instruction” program during a SCOPE session, we believed our own teachers could benefit from a similar model. The idea came to fruition when I wrote a proposal to central office personnel which aided in the establishment of the Teacher Ambassador Program; a professional development opportunity for teachers to visit other buildings, hear from the administrative team, and observe best teaching practices. These ambassadors then share what they learned with their colleagues. The experience opened us all to new ideas, and expanded our thought process to a more global level, a component that Fullan indicates is necessary for district reform.

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