When educators are legitimately included in system leadership teams, education communities develop in positive and productive ways. When educators are treated more like peons or robots, possibility and potential are lost.
In many ways, teacher leadership is a matter of time and voice. Who has the time in schools to discuss systemwide vision and make decisions? Who has the voice in a system when it comes to legitimate decision making and idea exchange? These questions matter.
In systems where teacher voice has been lost or buried for a long time, there will be lots of energy and effort needed to revitalize those important voices in the school community. In systems where voice has always been valued and given time, the change needed is to elevate those voices and choices to create more "flattened hierarchies" and distributive models of leadership. When all staff in a system are given voice and choice, students benefit from empowered models of using voice and choice as well as educators who are likely more invested in what happens and what can happen to positively impact children's educations and experience of school.
To empower educators in the school community demands that system personnel relook at the structures and process in place. Often, outdated processes and structure support outdated school hierarchies and leadership models. Instead schedules, roles, structures, and processes used have to be revisited. Many system personnel have not tried new strategic processes to empower the voice and choice of all stakeholders in a community--it's important that good strategic process is discussed, tried, and embraced. Good strategic processes give voice to all stakeholders and finds fair ways to reach good decision making based on well researched and discussed rationale, vision, and goals.
When time is continually spent on repetitive, surface issues and problems, the deeper and more important issues in a school lose out, so prioritization is important too. When we prioritize we have to choose meaningful, life changing issues, not just issues that look good on paper.
There's lots to think about as we think about positive change and development in schools--the kind of change that truly makes our learning/teaching communities better.
In the days ahead, I'll work to align my efforts and time with those that empower this kind of positive growth and change. I'll move away from organizations and efforts that repeatedly focus on same, superficial issues.
What issues are legitimate, rich, and meaningful in your professional world? What issues can you dig into with good support in order to make valuable growth and change? How will this focus affect the work you do in the days ahead?