So…in your work as a leader, what are some of the things that you do to not only show your knowledge and understanding of today’s classroom, but also get deep into the work with your staff and students? Please share some of your learning to the #SAVMP hashtag through your tweets, or blog.
The best PD I have had as a leader is most certainly the six and a half months I spent teaching (part-time) at St. Leonard's School. I had a grade 6 homeroom and I taught Language Arts. There is no question that this was a rich and rewarding experience! For the first time in 15 years, I had my own students!
I spent the entire summer before the assignment peppering my wife with questions - how can you possibly teach a kid to read and understand what they are reading? How do you help them to become better writers? I had taught lots of subjects, but never Language Arts.
My wife is very patient and she is an excellent grade 7 teacher. She answered all my questions and I began to realize what an immense task this had become. Things had certainly changed in 15 years!
When the year started, I would spend the entire weekend prepping to teach another concept. It was great! Spending the entire weekend looking for creative ways to teach concepts. I am sure it actually brought my wife and I closer together. We talked for hours and hours about how to get kids interested in writing and reading.
There were so many highlights - reading the kids Hanna's Suitcase all in one session, creating story boards based on Alan Cumyn's great book Owen Skye, setting up blogs for all the kids, decorating our door for halloween, the last day before Christmas!
I can really go on and on - it was so cool to be a teacher again!
One thing I have taken away from this experience is a deep respect for the work teachers in my school are doing every day. They make it look so easy, but I have an idea about how incredibly complex their work is. I don't know if I would understand this as well if I had not gone back to the classroom.
Maybe it would be a good idea to put administrators and especially consultants back in the classroom every five years. We as a group need regular reality checks. We all have great ideas on what should be going on in the classroom, but we don't have to worry about actually implementing them day to day.
So, how do I act as an instructional leader? When I am doing my job well, I am working hard to facilitate teacher collaboration. Given the time and the resources,the teachers know what needs to done. Their collaborative inquiries are quite amazing - I do my best work when I get out of their way.
Right now I am following two inquiries - the junior math triad (three schools working together) and the junior French triad.
Their ideas are great, their methodology solid. I am trying to keep a record of their work so that others can see what incredible work they are doing.
Next, I really need to learn more about what the other triads are doing so I can document their process as well.
This is the best I can do. Encourage our triads, record their work, support them in their growth, get out of their way.
members of the junior triad at work