Okay, fans of Harry Potter and Teacher Leadership. I’m reflecting on some Dementors that can just suck the passion, joy, effectiveness, and life out of teacher leadership and trying to pinpoint ways to battle them.
I’d love your feedback, ideas, and additions to the list. I think that when we can name something that is bothering us and identify some strategies to combat it, we are better off in the long run. And when we can share those strategies, the results are amplified.
Take that, Dementors! Below are pieces courtesy of my Ed Week blog, An Edugeeks’ Guide to K-12 Practice and Policy.
Part 1: The Dementor of Doubt
“I have the pleasure of working with some of the greatest teachers in the United States. I know I’m biased, but seriously. They are. Not only highly effective in the classroom, they are also great leaders of their colleagues. But here’s the kicker: They don’t know it. They have the swirling Doubt Dementor circling over their heads, like a vulture casting his eery shadow below. These teachers don’t see in themselves what others see in them; how amazing and gifted they truly are at reaching their students and inspiring their colleagues. They think they are not smart enough, old enough, accomplished enough to make a difference in the teaching profession. The Dementor sucks away their ability to see the great potential they hold with their students and other teachers.” Read more here.
Part 2: The Second Dementor of Teacher Leadership: Saying Yes
“‘If not me, then who?’ That used to be my mantra. So I would say yes…to every committee, event, writing opportunity, meeting, event, conference-you name it. And one of the results is 137 plastic hotel card keys collected from work trips over the past 6 years. This Yes Dementor swirls overhead, affecting my personal life, professional life, and health. My effectiveness as an educator and an advocate. And sometimes, my effectiveness as a person.” Read more here.
Part 3: The Isolation Dementor
“This Dementor swirls around the heads of most teachers, especially since classroom life can be a solitary one. But this Death Eater has one favorite group of victims…teacher leaders.
Teacher leaders are isolated prey in their nature (for now). Teacher leaders should move in packs to avoid this Dementor, but the structures of the school day, geography, and existing education systems don’t necessarily cater to this type of pack behavior. So the Dementor lurks.” Read more here.
Part 4: The Rabble-Rouser Dementor
“I just had a long conversation with a colleague about being a rabble-rouser. Except that he didn’t expect to walk into the role. He thought he was being the best teacher he could be based on his experience and research. I wish I could say this was uncommon, but I feel like this is a familiar plague with great teachers and teacher leaders. The fact is that taking leaps and professional risks can result in unintended consequences and pushback, even though many feel that these risks help teachers grow to be more effective and promote teacher leadership.” Read more here.
What dementors have you faced, and how did you battle these death-eaters? Let’s talk strategies!
Photo courtesy of iKobe.