1. Be a Teacher of Excellence. Do your core calling (teaching) with excellence. Remember that just with any business, your reputation proceeds you: taking care of the students entrusted to you is priority number one.
2. Be a Positive Role Model. I read an article recently by an excellent teacher via Twitter demanding Teacher Leaders stand up and keep the naysayer teachers accountable–(seriously bad advice). You can’t fight fire with fire: it doesn’t work. Many times a listening ear does the job-that and asking questions: “What brought you to that conclusion?” “What do you mean? Followed by “How can we improve in this area?” “What should we try and do?” Many times these types of questions lead to a better understanding. Also, taking interest in others passions and share ideas: asking for their advice, feedback, or thoughts on a project with an open mind. Stay positive knowing that all things ebb and flow-keep moving forward.
3. Know what your selling before the pitch. Teachers are all strained for time. Many teacher leaders lead initiatives that are new and must recruit help. This is always the basis in much of leadership: recruitment. The worst option is for a leader to go in front of a group of teachers or visit without putting together a plan–why would teachers want to volunteer their time with you? How will this project make for a worthy cause to support? How will this better their teaching experiences or help them gain in furthering their own leadership? These are questions that must be answered. Preparation is key to team success and growth.
4. Always believe that others want to help and be apart of something great. It’s very easy to assume that others don’t want to volunteer their time. You may send out an e-mail requesting volunteers and no one responds: suddenly, you just throw in the towel. Bad move. E-mail is the worst form of communication when seeking volunteers. It’s fine to throw out an e-mail or two, but don’t except grand returns. Face to face is always a first choice, then personal phone calls. A large part of leadership is relationship building. Then, show others how they can make a difference, the steps, and how they will benefit from it.
5: Find ways to allow others to lead. Shared leadership creates results and community. Under TKES (teacher keys evaluation system) to receive an exemplary rating, teachers must be consistently leading in a certain area. Demonstrate to teachers how being apart of the team can help them be teacher leaders themselves. Accent the possibilities, and ignite the passion for leadership by creating roles for all who are involved and check in and support each other through the process. Also, never hide it. Tell the administrators of the great things happening in the school.
If any other thoughts on teacher leadership? Please comment. Thank you!