Wave 1: Traditional Leadership roles (that home base) department chairs, inventory
I was going through my copy of Teacherpreneurs this week, trying to make a decision, and I found myself thinking about next steps in my own journey. Wave 1 and Wave 2 roles have formed the majority of my career, but I was fortunate enough to have some Wave 3 leadership along the way. Finding a Wave 4 job that lets me lead without leaving is a difficult proposition. Why is that? Check out Barnett’s latest blog for some great big system-changing ideas, but I was reflecting about smaller pieces closer to my own sphere of influence. Here are three possibilities.
Climate of Community: Participation in the VOICE curriculum has been a great opportunity to hone skills for me, and many of the people in my personal learning network of CTQ connectors. I wonder it if we can grow that network of networks by extending Communities of Practice to administrators and teachers in an organized opportunity. Unlike a PLC, behind the scenes reflections can break down walls, but unlike a Twitter chat, the conversations can be a bit more nuanced. Sometimes, 140 characters is not enough. Without involving all layers of stakeholders in change conversations, viewpoints become entrenched. I find myself wondering how I can build those communities–an absolutely great Wave 4 type of project.
Two-way paths: I want to go back into the classroom as a Wave 4 teacher. Currently, I do this through my own informal networks–mentoring students who are struggling, leading a monthly STEM club, working with 4H and my own children. But externships for teachers are becoming increasingly popular. Why wouldn’t we consider the reverse, where administrators, instructional coaches, and business leaders have the opportunity to consistently participate in today’s classroom? Do you have the ability to do that with your own network?
Collaboration opportunities: Over the past year, I helped with teacher leadership on a variety of levels, but two stand out right now. The first is a collaboration with a teacher from the Phillipines, who adeptly searched Facebook and found out that I was a science teacher. Over the past 18 months, we have bounced ideas on modeling in science and student expectations over a twelve-hour time lag. It has been amazing to see education through the dedication of a teacher whose local telephony network only provides Facebook access; the Internet in general must be accessed through Internet cafes. The second has been helping a TLI participant on her journey through her capstone project. Here, I was the networker, the person who could suggest outside resources, and the cheerleader for a rigorous and important process for action learning that involved multiple disciplines across three school districts in the effort to raise awareness for water as a resource. This effort, in particular, allowed me to hear student voice and choice in an authentic way.
All of these ideas I have mentioned above require us to give up fear and start asking others to join us. That seems to me to be the way forward, as we take what we have learned as teacher leaders and start moving that networking further towards others with growth mindsets.
Just for a moment, what is one way you could start that effort in your own learning space? I’d love to hear it.