As part of my accreditation requirements for the NSW Institute of Teachers I have to do 50 hours over five years of professional development in order to maintain my accreditation. These can include a range of school based staff development days and courses that I attend externally through a provider such as TTA.
I recently started a school based professional learning course through the NSW DET PLLD called the Team Leadership Program. It is being run by my school principal and a selection of principals and other facilitators from our schools local catchment area. We are all part of a community we call STEPS.
I would thoroughly recommend the development of such an initiative as it provides for a greater network in which to communicate with other teachers about what the school is doing for its students and how each school can better cater for those students and feel assured that similar systems are in place at each of the schools in the community. You’re working together basically. The “two heads are better than one” approach. As a high school teacher some of the advantages have included visiting the schools to provide welfare programs such as peer support and anti-bullying strategies. Using those welfare days to compile information about incoming Year 7 students as well as developing other whole school and community based literacy and numeracy strategies. I found a great article from the National College of Leadership of School’s and Children’s Services about the advantages of this.
Whilst I can’t reproduce the pages and pages of reading material I will be receiving over the next few terms (yes, terms!) due to copyright reasons, I can write down the things that I have been reflecting on as part of this course that you might also like to think about in your teaching practice.
This week we began dissecting what a leader actually does.
Are classroom teachers actually leaders? Leaders in the sense that we often refer to them.
If so, how do we know?
How would you define teachers as leaders?
I always just thought of myself as a teacher and didn’t really look at my role in the classroom as one of leadership. I just teach. I just do. I didn’t really reflect on that as being anything other.
It made me think about what qualities you need to be a leader. We were guided by the School Leadership Capability Framework which is publicly available on the NSW DET website to do this. It made me consider what areas of my school working life/self (educational, interpersonal, organisational, strategic and personal) as well as my personal self (emotional intelligence, ways of thinking and diagnostic maps) demonstrate these qualities. I then thought about who I am then responsible to whilst demonstrating these.
We looked particularly at this idea of balancing our emotional intelligence and our ways of thinking to create better diagnostic maps. These maps, generated from experiences in the classroom and in our areas of responsibility elsewhere in the school, then help us to deal with situations that require us to demonstrate leadership. It’s the plans we lay out to better deal with situations that challenge us.
I decided to continue my own look into leadership and learning styles which may in turn help you to decide what yours might be.
How do you think teachers demonstrate leadership in the classroom every day?
Have you ever thought of yourself as a leader?
Knowing this, how do you think your attitude towards the classroom will be different now?
Jimmy Wales Talks at WEF, Robert Scoble, Creative Commons- Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)