When we make the move from the classroom to other leadership positions in schools, the transition can be awkward at times. PIRATE leaders stay connected to the heartbeat of the classroom, with the realization that roles have shifted. We understand that we need to continue to model effective teaching practices, but also know that we simply cannot teach classes each day. Modeling strategies during adult learning helps, but it still is not the same as teaching a class of students. In order to keep our credibility as leaders, we must find opportunities to “walk the talk” of instructional leadership.
The challenge then becomes, how do you find ways to do this, when you already have a to-do list that is overflowing? And if you neglect those other important leadership tasks and spend all day teaching, that can also have some very negative impacts as well. The balance is delicate, but Shelley and I believe that asking the right questions can help to tease out those opportunities to make this a reality. What do you do when you are short on subs? Do you divide kids and make other classes bigger? Do you pull other staff to cover? How often do you roll your sleeves up and cover classes to ensure that learning is still the number one focus? It is one thing to say we value serving leadership, it is another to make it happen. How could you set up a rotation so that once a month you get a chance to teach a different class? How could you offer to model specific strategies that your school is focusing on for staff? If you are in central office role, how could you answer these questions to ensure you are able to get back into classrooms?
These are just a few questions to trigger ideas on staying true to your roots as a leader. We look forward to hearing your ideas and hope you can take our #LeadLAP challenge for the week. Please share your thoughts (and pictures if you have them) on the hashtag.
The Stay True to Your Roots #LeadLAP Challenge:
- How can you find time to get in the classroom without neglecting your daily leadership tasks? How could you commit to being the “mystery teacher” one period a week (or a month, start somewhere) to allow the classroom teacher to collaborate with colleagues or observe others (or observe you)?
- Create a monthly or quarterly drawing where the winner gets to spend the day developing lessons and materials while you teach their class. Part of the day, the winner gets to observe you and give feedback.
Thank you for all you do as leaders! Shelley and I look forward to learning and leading with you this week!