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Growing Into A Teacher Lead

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  • 1. Running Head: TEACHER LEADER 1 Growing Into a Teacher Leader Dina Damus University of Florida November 9, 2011
  • 2. TEACHER LEADER 2Rational “What if I am boring?” “How can I engage the audience?” “I do not want to say the wrong thing.” “I am use to leading children;however, how will I lead adults?” With my heart racing, these were just some of my initial thoughts and fears when Iwas chosen to lead the Teachers Fellows program. The Teacher Fellows program is apartnered initiative through the University of Florida and Ready School Miami; whosegoal is to support and improve teacher development, their practices and students’knowledge. My role as a Teacher Fellows facilitator is to guide my colleagues to developa “wondering” and utilize data driven approaches to modify their practices and studentslearning. I have decided to use the Teacher Fellows program as an artifact to exhibit myacquisition of the Teacher Leader component of the Teacher Leadership for SchoolImprovement (TLSI) Program. This artifact was chosen because “leadership” is one ofmy weakest skills. As an introverted person standing in front of a crowd and attemptingto lead them is frighten. Nonetheless, I am always up for a challenge.I wanted to confrontthis fear head on. This artifact will not only allowme to become a leader but also provideopportunities to collaborate with colleagues. As a novice facilitator the fears are slowly subsiding and a teacher leader isbeginning to emerge. I am learning that a teacher leader is not simply standing in front ofa group of other teachers and dishing out information. I now know that teacher leadersare “Teachers who are leaders lead within and beyond the classroom, identify with and
  • 3. TEACHER LEADER 3contribute to a community of teacher learners and leaders, and influence others towardimproved educational practice” (Kelly, 2011, pg.16).I am gradually becomingcomfortable in the leadership role. Linking theories that were taught at the Ready SchoolMiami Professional Learning Community, Teacher Facilitators Training, and TheReflective Educator’s Guide to Classroom Research has made the process a lot smoother. “When given opportunities to lead, teachers can influence school reform efforts.Waking this sleeping giant of teacher leadership has unlimited potential in making a realdifference in the pace and depth of school change” (Katzenmeyer and Moller, 2001, pg.102).I hope at the end of this journey the sleeping giant of teacher leadership within mewill lead to a significant change in my practice, those of my colleagues, and an overallimprovement in our school.Summary and Evidences- Evidence 1- Journal/SummaryDay 1 - Noooo . . . I have been chosen to lead the Teacher Fellows Program at my school. Why me? I wish they could have chosen someone else to do the program. With all the workload I have at work and in school, I really do not need another thing to do. How will I lead other teacher to do anything when I am not a leader?For someone have recommend me to facilitate the Teacher Fellows program,they must have felt that I was “competent, creditable, and approachable;” which are adjectives used to describe potential teacher leaders (Katzenmeyer and Moller,
  • 4. TEACHER LEADER 4 2001, pg. 14).I hope after embarking on this expedition, I can prove that person to be right.Day 2 Teacher Fellow Facilitator Orientation September 22, 2011 - Today, I attended the Teacher Fellows Facilitator training at United Way building. It was nice meeting others students who were part of the TSLI program at UF. It was even nicer to see that many of the partakers had already facilitated the program at their school. They spent time sharing past experiences and outcomes after conducting the program at their school site. My favorite part of the entire meeting is when we got in a circle and discussed our fears. It seems, as though I was the only one who was completely petrified at the thought of leading a group. Many felt they were either comfortable orclose to comfortable with the idea. A few of the participants comforted me by telling there was really no need to panic, because I would be working along my colleagues who I work, communicate, and collaborate with everyday,echoing York-Barr and Duke (2004), “Teacher leadership is practiced through a variety of formal and informal positions, roles, and channel of communication in the daily work of school” (pg.263).Many of the participants also offered their assistances if I needed advice through the process. With the information given during the training and the comfort I have gained, as ammunition, I think I am ready to fight this fear. Next step is preparing for the recruiting presentation.Day 3- Recruiting Session October 12, 2011 - I didn’t really get any sleep last night. I was so nervous about my recruiting presentation to the staff, today. I created a PowerPoint presentation to make the
  • 5. TEACHER LEADER 5 process a lot smoother. Prior to the meeting, I walked around relentlessly, in order to calm my nerve; it did not work. When I was given the floor to speak, the computer would not open the file and I became even more nervous. “What would I say if the information is not in front of me,” I thought to myself. Once I finally got the PowerPoint to work, I began telling the staff what the Teacher Fellows Program is about. You can hear my voice trembling. As I went on, slide-by- slide,the trembling in my voice subsided. At the end of the slide show I chose three colleagues who participated in the program last year to give their personal testimony about their experience and what they learned. I think this was necessary in order to add a personal connectionand minimize my colleague apprehension towards the Teacher Fellows Program.When it was all over I wanted to jump through roof and yell,“It is finally over.”At the end of the meeting no one signed up, hopefully they will. All in all the first step of this journey was not so bad. Now onto the next step, planning for the orientation session.- Teacher Fellow Recruiting PowerPoint (Double click on the image below to view the slideshow.)
  • 6. TEACHER LEADER 6Day 4- Orientation Session October 19, 2011 - Ah. . . the teacher leadership role is beginning to unveil. I conducted the Teacher Fellows orientation yesterday in my class. At first I was a bit frighten that no one would show up. For the first 20 minutes, I only had one person in my room; thankfully 5 others showed up. Once the meetings began my anxiety went out the door. I had the participant start off with a pre-survey questionnaire; which consisted of 5 simple questions related to what is the Teacher Fellows program, teacher inquiry, the use of data and how to share newly gained knowledge. This pre-survey will be compared to a post survey given during the final session on May 2, to show how members’ knowledge regarding inquiry, data, and collaboration has evolved. The next stage is to do is Session I of the Teacher Fellow Program, where we begin developing our wondering. - Evidence 2- Orientation Agenda and Pre-Survey Questions - Agenda Santa Clara Elementary Teacher Fellows Program Orientation Agenda October 19, 2011I. Welcoming and RefreshmentsII. Overview of the Teacher Fellows ProgramIII. Contract AgreementIV. Handout-Reflective Educator’s Guide to Classroom Research BookV. Text-Base Protocol-Chapter 1VI. Teacher Fellow Session 6 Dates: A. November 2 B. December 7
  • 7. TEACHER LEADER 7 C. February 1 D. March 7 E. April 11 F. May 2VII. PD Portal Registration - Pre-Survey Questions -
  • 8. TEACHER LEADER 8
  • 9. TEACHER LEADER 9Day 5- Session 1 November 2, 2011 - Today was our first session for the Teacher Fellows Program. I decided to have a tea partyas an icebreaker. I placed various comments related to “Inquiry” on a cutout of a teacup. Each participant read their quotes and shared their thoughts
  • 10. TEACHER LEADER 10 with a partner then as a whole group. We also did a journal-writing prompt which participant reflected on the following prompt. “One word that describes how I feel about conducting my own personal inquiry into my teaching practice this school year is . . .”(Dana and Yendol-Hoppey, 2009).My favorite activity was “Four Corners.” Within this activity, I went from being a teacher to becoming a true facilitator. I read a few quotes related to collaboration and the participants had to decide which of the four corners (Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree) describe how they felt. Here I was really able to see how the fellows members interacted. I took a back seat and allowed the member to engage with each other either agree or disagree with each other. According to Spillane, Halverson, and Diamond (2004), “rather than seeing leadership practices as solely a function of an individual’s ability, skill, charisma, and/or cognition, it is best understood as a practice distributed over leaders, followers, and their situation”(pg.18).I think this activity was a fitting example of leadership distributed between the facilitator and members. According the reflectionsI received atthe end Four Corners activity seems to be the participants’ favorite. In order to be a good teacher leader one must make their fellow teachers comfortable by being readily available to assist and guide (York-Barr and Duke, 2004, p.284). In order to acquire that role my next step will be planning for session 3 and creating an open door policy where participants are free to ask questions and seek guidance when creating their “wondering.”The “wondering”participants develop will be added later into this artifact and will be compared to members final paper, to show their growth within the program.
  • 11. TEACHER LEADER 11 - Evidence 3- Session I Agenda, Video Clips, and Reflections - Agenda Santa Clara Elementary Teacher Fellows Program Session I Agenda November 2 I. Welcome and Sign-In II. Tea Party- Teacher Inquiry Defined III. Journal Writing Prompt IV. The Great Wondering Brainstorm- Finding a wondering V. Four Corners-To Collaborate or No Collaborate VI. Preparation for Session 2: a. Review professional literature related to your inquiry topic b. Read Chapter 4-Developing a Research Plan c. Decide how you will implement your plan and what type of data you will use VII. ReflectionsTeacher Fellow Session 6 Dates: a. November 2 b. December 7 c. February 1 d. March 7 e. April 11 f. May 2 - Video (Session 1, Session 3, and Session 6 will be video taped to show my growth as a teacher leader.) (Double click on the images below to watch video clips.)
  • 12. TEACHER LEADER 12(Sorry battery died on the phone during the Four Corners activity.)
  • 13. TEACHER LEADER 13- Reflections from participants (Shows what participants learned, liked, wished, wondered and still needs to know about the Teacher Fellows Program) (Session 1, Session 3, and Session 6 reflections will be gathered to show my growth as a teacher leader and students understanding of the program.) Reflections and Next Step
  • 14. TEACHER LEADER 14Reflection and Next Step Just as a child must take it’s first steps before it can walk and subsequently run, Ihave taken the initial steps to becoming a teacher leader. At this point,I have undertakenthe task ofrecruiting and guiding members into developing their inquiry. However, Icannot start running or consider myself a true Teacher Leaderuntil I have acquired a fewmore steps; which includes guiding participants to gathering data, putting their plan intoaction, and sharing their findings. Within the next couple of months, I will continue totake the necessary steps toward guiding participants to display their findings andultimately their growth during the annual Ready Schools Miami Showcase. Ultimately a Teacher Leader is someone who “influences” those around them tobring about change in students, parents, fellow teachers, administrators, and thecommunity,both formally and informally. I hope at the end of this journey I can be thespark that ignites a change thatmakes a lasting impact. In going forward, I would like tosee the members who participated in the Teacher Fellows Program continue to participatein years to come, continue the ongoing collaboration, use knowledge they gained toinfluence the teaching practice of other educators, and/or even becoming facilitatorsthemselves. As for myself, I would liketo continue taking the steps to becoming aneffective teacher leader, collaborating, continue to inspire professional growth of mycolleagues, and taking on more leadership roles in my class, school, and the community.
  • 15. TEACHER LEADER 15ReferenceDana, N. and Yendole-Hoppey, D. (2009). Facilitator’s Guide: The Reflective Educators Guide to Classroom Research. Thousand Oak, California: Corwin Press.Katzenmeye, M and Moller, G. (2001). Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Helping Teachers Develop as Leaders. Thousand Oak, California: Corwin Press.Kelley, D. (2011) Teachers and Teacher Leaders Perceptions of the Formal Role of Teacher Leadership. Educational Policy Studies Dissertations.Spillane, J.P., Halverson, R., & Diamond, J.B. (2004). Towards a Theory of Leadership Practice: A Distributed Perspective. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 36(1), 3-34.York-­­Barr, J. & Duke, K. (2004). What Do We Know About Teacher Leadership? Findings From Two Decades of Scholarship.Review of Educational Research, 74(3), 255-­­316..