Connected Principals Posts

        So next October we will host a regional GIN (Global Issues Network) conference at our school, and the opportunity that this affords us is immeasurable. It’s an opportunity…

Read More Sustainability and Service

One day when I was a young teacher, I was shopping at a local grocery when I saw a very large man talking to a teenage girl down the aisle from where I was standing.

willful blindness
A story of courageous choice

I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but he was moving his hands aggressively, and she was backed against the shelves behind her.

I did what I believe most teachers would do: I walked over and asked what was happening.

“Butt out,” the man told me. He was at least a foot taller than I and outweighed me by at least 50 pounds.

I turned my attention to the girl. She was wearing a worker’s uniform. “Are you frightened?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “He’s married to my mother, but he’s not supposed to have contact with me. I’m just trying to get to work.”

“This is none of your damn business,” the man said stepping between us. Read More Making the Courageous Choice

I love reading leadership articles and books, and no matter how many times there is a “5 Qualities of  a Great Leader” type article, I tend to eat it up, even…

Read More Busy or annoyed?

As I was watching a video on “professional learning” this morning, the speaker was discussing the importance of our time to increase results, and something kind of dawned upon me.  There seems…

Read More Checklist or Art Form?

As a principal, I realize the best chance of sustainable, meaningful change only happens in our school with strong teacher leadership. Programs come and go. So do principals. But teachers are consistently in a position to create change and positively impact their classrooms and the entire school. 



We often think of teacher effectiveness as what happens with classroom instruction. And that is one very important part of how teachers lead and exert influence. But there are many other ways teachers can contribute to positive change.








Teacher leadership is not limited to a title or role, such as department head, instructional coach, etc. While it is great to have teachers in formal teacher-leader positions, it’s important to recognize that leadership is more about actions than defined roles and responsibilities. 










Leadership, in essence, is concerned with making the lives of your team members better and doing what is best for them in the long run. Here are 11 ways teacher leadership can drive change in your school.




1. If we want to empower students, we need to empower teachers. Students need greater voice and choice, so do teachers. Teachers are more likely to offer student-driven learning experiences if they have the same opportunities to drive their own experience.


2. Teachers understand the challenges and the opportunities. Too many ideas for education have been imposed from outside sources, sometimes originating from bureaucrats with little knowledge of a classroom. Teacher leaders know first-hand the complexities of learning, and how to develop solutions that work.



3. Teachers influence other teachers. When teachers take risks, it encourages others to take risks too. Change can be difficult, but with support from other teachers, it’s much easier.








4. Solutions developed by teachers are more likely to succeed. Why? Because if we believe in something, we will find a way to make it successful. Whether it is the best idea or not might not even matter. We’ll make it successful because we believe it is the best idea. 



5. The closer the goals are to the classroom the better. We get maximum results when students and teachers are developing goals together. 








6. Teacher leadership builds teamwork, trust, and shared ownership. When teachers lead, it creates greater interdependence. Team members play to their strengths and contribute in ways that make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.



7. Teachers are professionals and deserve to make professional decisions. Too many schools have a culture of permission, where teachers feel they must clear decisions they believe will be best for students. We need a culture of intention, not a culture of permission.



8. Leadership provides opportunities to grow. We cannot effectively explore our talents or potential without opportunities to lead. Using our talents to serve others is leadership. If we hope to create positive change, we have to be willing to grow and have the courage to challenge our own assumptions. We aren’t the school we used to be, but we’re not the school we want to be. 



9. Teacher leaders are culture builders. Nothing is more important in our schools than developing a strong culture. When teachers see themselves as leaders, they recognize how their voices matter to help set the tone for a caring, productive, learning-focused culture. Changing culture isn’t always easy to quantify, but it’s one of the most important things we can do. Every school should strive for a stronger culture.

10. Teacher leaders change lives. I’m constantly amazed at the ways teachers go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of students and colleagues. Every time I see this type of commitment, I see leadership in action. Change happens in a school one person at a time.



Question: What are ways teacher leaders drive change in your school? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook.

      

Read More 10 Ways Teacher Leadership Drives Change

As a principal, I realize the best chance of sustainable, meaningful change only happens in our school with strong teacher leadership. Programs come and go. So do principals. But teachers are consistently in a position to create change and positively impact their classrooms and the entire school. 



We often think of teacher effectiveness as what happens with classroom instruction. And that is one very important part of how teachers lead and exert influence. But there are many other ways teachers can contribute to positive change.








Teacher leadership is not limited to a title or role, such as department head, instructional coach, etc. While it is great to have teachers in formal teacher-leader positions, it’s important to recognize that leadership is more about actions than defined roles and responsibilities. 










Leadership, in essence, is concerned with making the lives of your team members better and doing what is best for them in the long run. Here are 11 ways teacher leadership can drive change in your school.




1. If we want to empower students, we need to empower teachers. Students need greater voice and choice, so do teachers. Teachers are more likely to offer student-driven learning experiences if they have the same opportunities to drive their own experience.


2. Teachers understand the challenges and the opportunities. Too many ideas for education have been imposed from outside sources, sometimes originating from bureaucrats with little knowledge of a classroom. Teacher leaders know first-hand the complexities of learning, and how to develop solutions that work.



3. Teachers influence other teachers. When teachers take risks, it encourages others to take risks too. Change can be difficult, but with support from other teachers, it’s much easier.








4. Solutions developed by teachers are more likely to succeed. Why? Because if we believe in something, we will find a way to make it successful. Whether it is the best idea or not might not even matter. We’ll make it successful because we believe it is the best idea. 



5. The closer the goals are to the classroom the better. We get maximum results when students and teachers are developing goals together. 








6. Teacher leadership builds teamwork, trust, and shared ownership. When teachers lead, it creates greater interdependence. Team members play to their strengths and contribute in ways that make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.



7. Teachers are professionals and deserve to make professional decisions. Too many schools have a culture of permission, where teachers feel they must clear decisions they believe will be best for students. We need a culture of intention, not a culture of permission.



8. Leadership provides opportunities to grow. We cannot effectively explore our talents or potential without opportunities to lead. Using our talents to serve others is leadership. If we hope to create positive change, we have to be willing to grow and have the courage to challenge our own assumptions. We aren’t the school we used to be, but we’re not the school we want to be. 



9. Teacher leaders are culture builders. Nothing is more important in our schools than developing a strong culture. When teachers see themselves as leaders, they recognize how their voices matter to help set the tone for a caring, productive, learning-focused culture. Changing culture isn’t always easy to quantify, but it’s one of the most important things we can do. Every school should strive for a stronger culture.

10. Teacher leaders change lives. I’m constantly amazed at the ways teachers go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of students and colleagues. Every time I see this type of commitment, I see leadership in action. Change happens in a school one person at a time.



Question: What are ways teacher leaders drive change in your school? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook.

      

Read More 10 Ways Teacher Leadership Drives Change

        So just over a week ago Ecuador was hit by a massive earthquake that completely devastated many communities on the coast. Thousands and thousands of families have…

Read More True Colours

The emphasis on “creation” in schools is crucial, yet it does not mean that consumption is not crucial in the process.  Several years ago, I saw John Medina speak (the…

Read More Learning Before You Innovate

The other day I was presenting to a small group of teachers and assistant principals on the many hats school leaders wear.
Uncle-Sam_shutterstock_30476221
As I was closing, I asked them to look at me. Everyone fixed his or her eyes on my own, and suddenly I was overwhelmed.

I wanted to tell them how much our schools need their leadership…how much our students need men and women who are passionate, caring, determined, courageous, and committed…how we can’t do this without them.

But all I could get out was, “We need you.” And then I was too choked up to continue. Read More Dear Educators, We Still Need You!

If you have never seen the “Blockbuster Offers a Glimpse of Movie Renting Past”, it is a great (and funny) piece that promotes some great conversations on how quickly things can…

Read More How Quickly Things Change

With March Madness upon us, I have been really think about how much I miss being a part of the sport of basketball. Probably from the age of nine until…

Read More The Message and the Messenger

On Twitter, I asked for a great video on “Forward Thinking Leadership”, and Christina Carlin (thank you!), shared this great video: The quote at the end resonated; When Kennedy said, that…

Read More Moonshot Thinking #InnovatorsMindset

Portfolios are something I think that we need to really take advantage of in the realm of possibilities for school today.  I have written about this extensively for the past…

Read More The (Nearly) Invisible Portfolio

A destructive hail storm pummeled North Texas this past Monday evening. The hail caused significant damage to homes and cars in our little ISD, even causing us to cancel school Tuesday, for a “hail day”. (Everything’s bigger in Texas, right?) From golf ball sized hail at my house to SOFTBALL SIZED HAIL in another neighborhood…we were hit […]

Read More Leadership during severe weather, lessons learned! #thefirstyear