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SLC's Teacher Leaders' Obstacle Course

Learn how to overcome typical obstacles to teacher leadership.

Evelyn Cortez-Ford

on 24 October 2012

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Transcript of SLC's Teacher Leaders' Obstacle Course

Think About How Teachers Work At Your School... Congratulations!!
At the end of this course, you will be able to... Welcome to SLC’s
Teacher Leaders’ Obstacle Course “One of the worst forms of empowerment occurs when we turn people loose to implement tomorrow’s organizational values without the necessary training to be effective in the new environment.” Obstacle #1 School Leadership Coaching Teacher Leaders’ Obstacle Course www.schoolleadershipcoaching.com
Twitter: @teachersleading This course is designed to help you, and other teachers, navigate through typical barriers to teacher leadership. Choose Identify Apply ...On to the first obstacle! Let's get started! Lack of Leadership Development for Teachers Source: Leadership for Tomorrow’s Schools by J. Patterson , 1993, p. 62. Reflect on your own experiences with teacher leadership development If you’re like most teachers…. Your teacher education program didn’t prepare you to work as a leader outside of the classroom. Your district’s professional development plan doesn’t include leadership learning for teachers, or if it does, it is inconsistent and not sustained. Your school doesn’t use mentors or coaches for leadership development for teachers. Because teachers are seldom involved in leadership development opportunities, they are unprepared to participate in school improvement activities. To be a successful teacher leader, you need support in acquiring the necessary... Knowledge (of) Skills (in) Mindsets (attitudes/disposition toward) School culture, change processes, assessment practices, adult learning, professional development Developing relationships, collaboration, facilitation, communication Changing the status quo, taking risks, acting from a sense of empowerment, personal and professional growth, inquiry Mission School Leadership Coaching’s mission is to improve student learning by engaging teachers as leaders of the school improvement process. The 5 Obstacles #1
Lack of Teacher Leadership Development #3
Professional Norms of Teaching #2
Teachers Don't Think of Themselves as Leaders #4
Lack of
Principal Support #5
Lack of Time Train for the course! Jump the hurdles! Climb the wall! Pull together! Navigate the maze! SLC Supports Teacher Leadership Development in Four Key Domains School Culture
Developing competencies in what it means to be a teacher leader in one’s own school, developing relationships, and breaking down obstacles of isolation and privacy School Improvement
Acquiring a tool-kit of strategies to lead effective school change Strategies To Help You Navigate Through This Obstacle Become aware of any leadership development opportunities in your district.

Participate. Suggest leadership development for your school or district. Read teacher leadership development books. Involve yourself with reform minded teacher leaders.
Listen and learn from one another. Sign up for free coaching session Nurture leadership skills by collaborating on meaningful school improvement tasks. Now on to the second obstacle… Good job! Source: On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis, 1989. “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself.” Are You a Teacher Leader? If you’re like many teachers, you hesitate to call yourself a teacher leader.

As one teacher put it: “I don’t consider myself a leader. I mean, I have to get along with other teachers. I may be a helper, but I’m not a leader.” Some teachers reject leadership because of their assumptions about: Who Gets To Lead Do you think of leaders as one person in a position of authority, a boss, a superior, the top of the organizational hierarchy? The Qualities/Skills the Leader Has Do you think leaders are born with a natural charisma that enlist a loyal following almost as if by magic? What the Leader Does Do you think leaders boss, order, mandate, coerce in order to get their way? Would you think of yourself as a leader if you could… Make meaningful connections between teaching and leading? Lead with others? Use your expertise as a teacher? Develop significant professional relationships with colleagues? Make a contribution to student and adult learning? What If Leadership Meant... Constructing meaning and knowledge collectively and collaboratively Reflecting upon and making sense of work together Creating actions that grow out of these new understandings Source: Building Leadership Capacity in Schools by L. Lambert, 1998. Strategies to Help You Navigate Through This Obstacle Uncover your assumptions about leadership Acknowledge any traditional notions you have of leadership (boss, top dog, superior, etc.) Explore new meanings and unique ideas about leadership such as “leadership is a group endeavor.” Use the definitions of teacher leadership from literature and research to explore new meanings of leadership Create your own definitions of teacher leadership. In what ways are teaching and leading connected? Develop an awareness of leadership practiced by teachers in your school Enlist the help of a leadership coach or mentor. That's two obstacles down... On to the third... “The norms of privacy, noninterference and nonjudgment, civility, equality, and individual autonomy generally characterize teachers’ professional relationships.” Source: Research on Teacher Leadership: Assessing the State of the Art by M. Smylie in International Handbook of Teachers and Teaching edited by B. Biddle. T. Good, and I. Goodson, 1996. How important is it for teachers to work
alone in their
classroom without
any outside interference? How much do you talk about instruction with other teachers? How much influence do you have? How often do teachers collaborate on school improvement matters? Do teachers lead in your school?
How are these teacher leaders perceived by their peers? Do you and your colleagues share responsibility for
reaching your school’s goals? Most teachers work within norms of... Autonomy
(lacking collective responsibility) Autonomy is important, but teachers must learn to be independent without being isolated. Norms of privacy, autonomy, and equality can be barriers to teacher leadership because they… Prevent collaborative work Inhibit teachers’ influence toward improved instructional practices Hinder professional relationships The bottom line... “Teachers rarely . . .
talk meaningfully about teaching, students, and school improvement.” Source: A Handbook for Teacher Leaders by L. Pellicer & L. Anderson, 1995, p. 11. The good news... Teachers can lead in inclusive, cooperative and collaborative ways that enhance teaching and learning and that fit well with the teaching profession. Just remember… Leadership is a trait of the entire organization– it belongs to everyone Leadership is embodied in tasks that anyone can do Leadership is not based on a single individual in a certain role Strategies To Help You Navigate Through This Obstacle Develop meaningful relationships with colleagues. Start with one or two colleagues and build from there. Lead from where you are – you don’t need a formal role or position. Make your teaching public and encourage colleagues to do the same. Honor your colleagues for their strengths as professionals and leaders. Enlist others in helping out on school improvement activities such as collecting and analyzing data. Participate on teams dealing with school improvement matters. Excellent job! Keep going! You’re almost there… “The principal, it seems, has a disproportionate influence upon teacher leadership for better or for worse.” Source: Teacher Leadership by R. Barth, 2001, p. 447. Teachers and principals have a certain way of working together that could be a barrier to teacher leadership. Think about your relationship with your principal... Is there a clear distinction as to who solves problems, makes decisions, and answers questions regarding school improvement matters? Do you listen to each other? Do you give and receive feedback equally? Do you learn from one another? Do you share responsibility for school goals? Is there mutual influence between you two? Source: Teachers as Constructivist Leaders by L. Lambert, 1996 p. 21. Many teacher – principal relationships are characterized by... Separate work Different perspectives Principal-as-leader/
roles One-way communication “Teachers (along with administrators) don’t work from shared agreements on roles, responsibilities, or process.” Source: A Handbook for Teacher Leaders by L. Pellicer and L. Anderson, 1995, p. 11. Sometimes principals share leadership but they... Choose like-minded teachers to lead at the expense of others Delegate administrative tasks to teachers to get things off their plate “Work autonomously but ask first.” “Let’s make decisions as a team but my word is final.” “Lead but not too much.” Send mixed messages about teacher leadership Principals may not encourage teachers to lead because they... Have legal, formal, positional authority and feel accountable Find it more efficient to lead (it’s much easier and faster to make decisions alone than with others) May have a misunderstanding of teacher leadership Must acquire new knowledge and skills in order to make teacher leadership effective Sometimes principals share leadership but teachers continue to... Depend on the principal to make decisions Require principal to solve problems Teachers may not want to lead even when the principal is supportive because teachers believe… Teaching and leading are separate activities They will lead alone They are not prepared to lead Their relationships with colleagues will suffer Leadership takes time away from teaching Teachers and principals must negotiate new ways of working together for teacher leadership to be effective. These relationships should be characterized by... Collaboration Trust Respect Mutual Influence Empowerment Forge new, trusting relationship with principal. Create a shared understanding of teacher leadership. Surface any differences in perspectives on teacher leadership and teacher leaders’ responsibilities. Collaborate on a meaningful school improvement project. Recognize that teacher leadership is unique and cannot be performed like principal leadership. Share what you know about the benefits of teacher leadership. Inform principals of the informal leadership you have practiced (e.g. inviting teachers into your classroom, ….) and the difference it makes to student learning. Acknowledge ambiguity in roles and work together toward explicit, shared agreements on how you’ll work together. Strategies To Help You Navigate Through This Obstacle 5 major obstacles to teacher leadership multiple strategies for overcoming each obstacle leadership as a meaningful endeavor Prepared by Dr. Evelyn Cortez-Ford Families and Community
Learning advocacy, outreach, and securing relationships with family members and in the community Teaching, Learning, and Leading
Creating meaningful connections between the work of a teacher (teaching and learning) and leadership As you go through this course, you will engage with SLC’s 4 key domains by … Acquiring new knowledge Reflecting on self and new content Practicing leadership actions Co-creating new understandings Adults learn best with others... Although you are going through this course on your own, use the content, questions, and strategies as conversation starters with your colleagues. For example:
Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Leadership Development for Teachers by Katzenmeyer & Moller

Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Helping Teachers Develop As Leaders by Katzenmeyer & Moller

Developing Teacher Leaders: How Teacher Leadership Enhances School Success by Crowther, Kaagan, et.al. http://schoolleadershipcoaching.com/freecoaching.htm Learn new teacher leadership strategies on Twitter (@teachersleading). Would you lead then? You can keep the “teacher” in teacher leadership and you don’t have to do it alone. Start with these definitions: “Teacher leadership is defined as influencing and engaging colleagues toward improved practice.” Source: Teachers Who Lead: The Rhetoric of Reform and the Realities of Practice by P. Wasley, 1992, p. 21. “Teacher leadership is the process by which teachers, individually or collectively, influence their colleagues and other members of the school community to improve teaching and learning practices with the aim of increased student learning and achievement.” Source: What Do We Know About Teacher Leadership: Findings from Two Decades of Scholarship by York-Barr & Duke, 2004, pp. 287-288. “Teacher leaders [are] those who reach out to others with encouragement, technical knowledge to solve classroom problems, and enthusiasm for learning new things.” Source: Teachers’ Workplace: The Social Organization of Schools by S. Rosenholtz, 1989, p. 208. Encourage teacher leaders who are trying to make a positive difference to student learning and school improvement. You’re making great progress! Just one more obstacle to go… “Time is the most significant barrier to teacher leadership.” Source: Teacher Leadership: The Needs of Teachers by P. LeBlanc & M. Shelton, 1997,p. 44. If you’re like most teachers, you feel there just isn’t enough time for Purposeful planning Creative innovation Collaboration with colleagues Authentic assessment practices Necessary reflection School improvement activities Teacher leadership Teacher leadership research and literature support your feelings… Time is scarce for teacher leaders. Source: Teachers Who Lead: The Rhetoric of Reform and Realities of Practice by P. Wasley, 1991. Time is the most needed and valued resource for teacher leadership. Source: Teacher Leadership: What Are We Learning? By A. Lieberman, 1992; Teacher Leadership: The Needs of Teachers by P. LeBlanc & M. Shelton, 1997. Teachers often think of leadership outside the classroom as too time consuming. Source: Teacher Leadership vs. School Management: Flatten the Hierarchies by M. Coyle, 1997. Teachers report that finding time to lead is a very stressful endeavor. Source: Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Helping Teachers Develop as Leaders by M. Katzenmeyer & G. Moller, 2001 For teacher leadership to be successful, time is needed to... Reflect and renew Perform leadership actions Develop new programs and individual & collective capacity You have just too much to do and your plate is too full to take on teacher leadership, right? Well, maybe not... Principals can allocate time to lead by... Giving you class release time Providing substitutes Getting help for you from support personnel And what can you do to find the time to lead? Keep the “teacher” in teacher leadership! Remember… Teaching and leading are similar activities. You can lead from where you are. Leadership is embodied in actions, not in a position or role. Leadership doesn’t have to be something you add to your plate. Framing your teaching activities as leadership activities is powerful. Teacher leadership begins with effective teaching. Strategies to help you navigate through this obstacle... Practice what P. Drucker calls “planned abandonment”. Abandon all activities that drain resources, impede progress, detract from goals, and prevent the development of supportive relationships. Remove items from your plate to make room for more important activities. Consistently say a pleasant “no” to requests for your time. “Organize and execute around priorities.” Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by S. Covey, 1989, p. 149. Explore ways to use time more effectively in meetings, during planning time, and in informal ways (e.g. touching base with a colleague). Assess your use of time. Do you really spend your time on priorities? You’ve been through all 5 obstacles.
Way to go! Connect with Evelyn for more teacher leadership development. Twitter:
@teachersleading for tips, inspiration, and news on teacher leadership. Website: http://www.schoolleadershipcoaching.com for free coaching session and to find out more about leadership coaching. Barth, R. S. (2001). Teacher leadership. Phi Delta Kappan. 82 (6), 443-449.
Bennis, W. (1989). On becoming a leader. New York: Addison Wesley.
Covey, S. R. (1989). Seven habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Coyle, M. (1997). Teacher leadership vs. school management: Flatten the hierarchies. Teacher Leadership, 70 (5), 236-239.
Katzenmeyer, M. & G. Moller. (1996). Awakening the sleeping giant: Leadership development for teachers . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Katzenmeyer, M. & G. Moller. (2001) Awakening the sleeping giant: Helping teachers develop as leaders. Newbury Park, CA: Corwin Press.
Crowther, F., S. Kaagan, M. Ferguson, & L. Haan. (2002). Developing teacher leaders: How teacher leadership enhances school success. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Lambert, L. (1996). Who will save our schools: Teachers as constructivist leaders. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Lambert, L. (1998). Building leadership capacity in schools. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
LeBlanc, P. & Shelton, M. (1997). Teacher leadership: The needs of teachers. Action in Teacher Education, 19 (3), 32-48.
Lieberman, A. (!992). Teacher leadership: What are we learning? In C. Livingston (Ed.). Teachers as leaders: Evolving roles. (pp. 159-165). Washington, DC: National Education Association.
Pellicer, L. & L. Anderson. (1995). A handbook for teacher leaders . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Patterson, J. (1993). Leadership for tomorrow’s schools . Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.
Rosenholtz, S. J. (1989). Teachers’ workplace: The social organization of schools . White Plains, NY: Longman.
Smylie, M. (1996). Research on teacher leadership: Assessing the state of the art. In B. Biddle, T. Good, & I. Goodson (Eds.), International handbook of teachers and teaching . Vol. 1 (pp. 521-592). Boston: Kluwer.
Wasley, P. (1992). Teachers who lead: The rhetoric of reform and the realities of practice. New York: Teachers College Press.
York-Barr, J. & K. Duke. (2004). What do we know about teacher leadership: Findings from two decades of scholarship. Review of Educational Research. (74) 3, 255-316. References © 2012 School Leadership Coaching Inquiring about and generating ideas together Learning together Surfacing and mediating perceptions, values, beliefs, information, and assumptions through continuing conversations Isolate self from working with others Ask permission on big and small matters Acquire leadership credibility through principal (“The principal says we need to do this.”) Source: Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Leadership Development for Teachers by M. Katzenmeyer and G. Moller , 1996. The 5 Obstacles: Lessons Learned #1
Lack of Teacher Leadership Development #3
Professional Norms of Teaching #2
Teachers Don't Think of Themselves as Leaders #4
Lack of
Principal Support #5
Lack of Time Study How To Lead! Realize you ARE a leader! Lead With Others and From Where You Are! Connect with Your Principal! Spend Time on Priorities! TM Privacy
(solitude) Privacy prevents teachers from working collaboratively on instructional issues Equality, the belief that no teacher is different than any other, inhibits teachers from taking on leadership roles. Equality
(no teacher is different than another)
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