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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI): The Journey Continues

Late last summer, I began the Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI) sponsored by multiple education organizations including The Center for Teacher Quality (CTQ), National Education Association (NEA), The Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Throughout the year our TLI team in Massachusetts has met numerous times online and offline to develop our leadership knowledge and skill as each of us worked on a capstone project. My capstone project was focused on the three-teacher/classroom shared teaching model that my colleagues and I started this year. Also, as part of TLI, I was able to work with teachers and leaders from other states as well mostly in the area of instructional leadership.

I learned a lot throughout this endeavor, an endeavor which gave me greater confidence and skill with regard to getting involved in multiple education associations and organizations to develop and share my craft and collegiality. Further, and most importantly, this effort helped me to grow the collaborative model with colleagues to teach children well. As part of the capstone project, I had to present my work via a portfolio which I've shared below.

If you read through the portfolio, you'll note that the model overall was wonderfully successful for multiple reasons. I learned a lot throughout the year. You'll also note that there are still areas for growth and development with regard to my teacher leadership work and systematic efforts. In some ways, it's been challenging to move from the isolation of one-teacher-one-classroom to a shared model, a model that's mandated that we work more with district leaders as we move towards greater research-based change and innovation in what we do.

I'm grateful that my system administrators supported our shared teaching model, and I'm thankful too that our state and national union as well as other leading education organizations have supported the Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI) and other education work that I'm currently involved in.

In the end, what's most important is that we serve children well, and in that end, it's vital that educators find ways to work with groups of like-minded colleagues and forward thinking leaders in the field to develop their skill, inspire their work, and move forward to meeting the promise and potential a good education holds for every child's life and every community's well being.

If you have thoughts or ideas for me in relation to this work, I welcome your wisdom. Also if TLI intrigues you, sign up and take advantage of this incredible learning opportunity.

Note that as a veteran teacher of thirty years, I've decided to be extremely transparent about my work including my strengths and shortcomings. I don't advise this for newer teachers as I believe it's important to think about what you share and why you share, however, because educators have so often not been treated with respect or given realistic, inspiring avenues for growth and development, I think it's important that some, like me, relay the real journey of ups and downs, support and challenge, highlights and low times that teachers experience. Only when we look deeply into the profession, will we be able to better celebrate and elevate the work we do to teach all children well.

Note: There remains a few typos to clean up and for some reason, Pathbrite doesn't recognize dashes, so I've got to explore that which is the reason why phrases such as one-teacher-one-classroom look like this "oneteacheroneclassroom."