Reflections on our PD day: Real Teacher Leadership
As I wrote last week, we held a Professional Development day today that was planned and facilitated by teachers. Readers of “The Principal’s Principles” are aware that fostering Teacher Leaders is a passion of mine, and I’ve been actively seeking ways to step back and let staff members lead. One of my core beliefs is that no matter what your title, you can be a leader in our school; we took some steps forward to make this belief a reality today. Our work today focused on state reporting, skills for collaboration, team building, and analysis of a staff culture survey. Our school improvement leadership team chair led sessions focused on state reporting, skills for collaboration, and analysis of a staff culture survey. Another teacher led a team building activity where staff formed groups and had to decorate cakes, with the “decorator” being blind folded. Three others took the lead on lunch. Several others helped with logistics, including setting up the next room we would meet in. I know I have a bias, but it was the best PD day I can remember.
My role today was to step back. After setting up the continental breakfast to get the day started, I said a quick word of welcome and then was a participant, not a facilitator. I did my best to contribute to my groups throughout the day and to learn and grow on my own. As the day ended, I thanked our leaders and complimented everyone on their hard work before heading back to my office to reflect on how the day had gone. My biggest lesson today was something I wrote about a few months ago, sometimes having a formal leadership role means getting out of the way.
Today, I know that our staff had conversations were productive, focused, and positive. In addition to helping us fulfill state requirements, they went a long way to helping our school reculture as part of our ongoing PLC process. I know that today will do a lot to give our staff skills to communicate and collaborate effectively.
I hope our staff members went home today thinking they enjoyed their day and appreciated the laughter that we shared and the dialog we had. I also hope that they noticed their peers were leading today, and more find themselves inspired to step forward and take on roles. Lastly, I hope this will lead to more opportunities for teacher leadership, outside of Professional Development Days.
The collective capacity of our organization grew today. I could not be more grateful to our teachers for making it happen.