Monday, January 28, 2013

Many Leaders

As a classroom teacher, I have many leaders including a school administrator, district administrators, Union leaders and curriculum leaders in special education, math/science, English language arts and technology.

I also have many students and family members to respond to, and support/specialist staff (coaches, art, music, physical education, library, technology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech) to coordinate with.

It's a complex daily schedule--one that I have to navigate each day to prioritize and respond to with care in order to teach children well.

There's minimal collegial time, and little official planning time, hence a lot of communication occurs by email which isn't always the most effective medium for sharing and debate.

I think school structures and schedules can be streamlined so that teachers' time to plan, respond to and educate students is maximized and prioritized.  Sometimes those with the most day-to-day direct service for planning and teaching have the least scheduled time and voice for choice--thus making the role more of a "carry-out the plans" role than a truly professional educator role.

I'd like to see the role of classroom educator lifted with greater autonomy, more reasonable schedules, and greater streamlining of leadership.  I'd like to see our ability and time to collaborate, make decisions, and innovate grow as I believe that would continue the movement of strengthening and developing schools for best effect when it comes to student learning.

Many say, "Just be satisfied, why do you have to question everything?"  Sometimes I wish I didn't notice or see the potential I see--sometimes I wish I could simply follow rules without thinking and assessment, but the joy I get in the work I do comes from doing the job well, and doing the job well for me is a continual movement towards doing it better.

Since this post was initially written, time for collaboration has increased by 30 minutes. That's not a lot of time, but it is a significant, positive change. Also, due to a streamlined teaching model this year, the number of leaders/coaches I work with was reduced. This created greater time for more depth with regard to the teaching/learning program--another positive change.