Our PD day next week: Teacher Leadership
As the summer concluded, I attended a workshop hosted by the Galileo Institute for Teacher Leadership at Oakland University, focused on the emerging realities Barnett Berry and the minds at the Center for Teaching Quality talk about. If you are wondering about these ideas, I wrote about them here. The morning was focused on learning about the research, while the afternoon was spent thinking about ways that schools could go back and foster teacher leadership. I drove home from the event that day thinking to myself “what can I do? How can I take what I just was thinking about and make it happen at our school?”
I’ve been looking for opportunities when one presented itself. Weeks ago I was approached by the chair of our School Improvement Leadership Team and asked about the planning for our Staff Professional Development day on January 16. To be clear, I have a lot of confidence in our chair, but the notion of me not planning a PD day made me nervous. For the part of me that said “yes, here is your chance to foster teacher leadership” there was another part that said “but you are the principal, this is your job.”
Teacher leadership won out. I got out of the way and let staff members generate ideas. Today, I attended a meeting to help with the planning, but offered insight only when I was asked. The agenda, process for activities, survey for staff data to discuss, and locations of sessions were all decided by our school improvement team. Next Monday, teachers will facilitate meetings, lead dialogue, and even determine when we take breaks. I could not be more excited for the learning that will take place, aside from providing coffee in the morning, I’ll be a participant. It will be time for our teachers to shine, and our collective capacity will grow.
As I learned a few months ago, sometimes leadership requires you to get out of the way. The ideas for next Monday generated by staff are better than anything I could have created. It is my hope this kind of collaboration with staff continues. Next week, I’ll report back on how our day went, I’m anticipating a day full of professional growth!