Posted by José Luis Vilson on Friday, 05/31/2013
Maybe we're the crazy ones to think that the school year is an actual full year of teaching. The lull between the "big tests" and the end of the school year gets students thinking that we ought not learn anything anymore. Obviously, for teachers who've been doing this for a while, we want to get as much juice as possible out of our schedules. For example, it's one thing to have extra time at the end of a period, but at the end of a school year?
There's just no way. They have learning to do.
That's why I ought to start capitalizing the word "teacher" in the phrase "teacher leader." The term "teacher leader" is so ubiquitous, you can't help but wonder if people even know what it actually means, or at least have characteristics in mind when they think of TEACHER leadership.
We can knock out a few instances of what's not teacher leadership. It's not hiring a person at a teacher's salary and giving them a position or a name. It's not giving a person only a couple of years to teach before they're walking around telling teachers what to do. It's definitely not seeking to get famous for a few opinions.
Emphasizing the word TEACHER in TEACHER leader requires people to understand the importance of what we do as practitioners. The lesson planning, grading papers, asking deep questions, calling parents, guiding children, guiding children, guiding children, and being the best teacher you can be. Then, after establishing that foundation of doing the right things in the classroom, the platform for leadership can occur.
That's why I'm so proud to take part in an organization like the Center for Teaching Quality. Most of the best voices on education come right here. Understanding that, in order to bring something to the fore, we have to develop a pedagogical expertise and translate that into policy discussions is critical. The authenticity in the way we approach TEACHER leadership matters in schools.
The idea behind any structure of TEACHER leadership (yes, this includes teacherpreneurism) is that we as teachers teach children, and share our expertise because it directly or indirectly affects children's learning. We can't divorce TEACHER leadership from the classroom, try as some might.
Given the larger discussions around this idea, it's important to call attention to the intricate relationship between teacher and student ... and how leadership ought to evolve from that space.