Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hi, my name is Ben. I'm a Teacher Leader

[This post is not in any way intended to offend my principal or assistant principal.  I know that they are simply doing their job.]

Hi, my name is Ben, I'm a teacher leader.

On December 20th, my principal and assistant principal were both standing at my door during one of my classes.  As a teacher, this isn't something that you want to see.  I quickly scanned through the past couple days and couldn't think of anything that warranted this visit. Of course, that's the first thing that I thought of though.  How am I in trouble?

I quickly got the class started on an activity and went into the hallway for a "chat."  As it turns out, they both consider me a "teacher leader."  Now, I'm no dummy.  I know what this means.  My reply, "What meeting do you want me to attend?"

I spent December 22nd in a meeting with all the principals, assistant principals and invited "teacher leaders" for a 6 hour meeting.  We discussed how to get all the area schools on the same page in terms of curriculum and expectations.  Six hours.

I understand the administrative point of view.

However, here's my point of view: I'm considered a high quality "teacher leader" whose opinion you value (this is tough you to define; it could be so many people).  I'm valued enough to be pulled out of my classroom for a whole day two days before winter break when I'm trying to finish up projects.  I'm valued enough to be replaced by a guest teacher.

I very intentionally don't have a principal's license.  I very intentionally don't apply for any administrative positions.  I want to be in my classroom with my students.  Not sitting in a meeting planning things that will probably be flipped flopped several times.

Hi, my name is Ben.  I'm a teacher leader.

Yesterday, I had our district AVID director and two associate AVID district directors in my classroom.  I also had the Minnesota AVID director.  My AVID classes were chosen to be observed by district leaders for the Minnesota director.  My students and tutors had the opportunity to demonstrate all the great things that are happening in the AVID classroom.  I had the chance to talk with the MN director about what is working, what isn't working, and the things that we've done this year.

This, to me, is a much more acceptable way to treat the teacher leaders.  My door, literally, is always open.  I've gone through three Jenga pieces this year propping my door open. (Those little Jenga pieces are perfect for holding my door open. Go figure.)  Anyone is welcome in my room at any time.  I'm not going to change my instruction because I know you are coming.  I'll gladly talk to you about my struggles and successes.  I'll openly tell you what I don't like and do like.  I'll intently listen to your feedback.

Hi, my name is Ben. I'm a teacher leader.

Two scenarios.  Two different ways to treat teacher leaders.  If I truly am a teacher leader, I know what I prefer.

Hi, my name is Ben.  I'm a teacher leader.

1 comment:

Jack said...

"[This post is not in any way intended to offend my principal or assistant principal. I know that they are simply doing their job.]" Hah! Let's hope the kids don't use it as ammunition against you!