This is a multipart series of posts intended to help teachers grow their leadership practice and ignite conversations about education online and in person. The goal of a teacher leader is to improve the learning of all students through their efforts, collaboration, and influence. The 2014 Teacher Leadership Challenge is a weekly installment activity that poses a prompt on an educational topic or issue. Your challenge is to respond within one week to the prompt via a post you publish to your blog. Responses to the prompt that you publish to your own blog should be around 500 words or less. The aim is to get more teachers thinking globally about their classroom practice and their own connection to the wider education community. You can subscribe to this blog to get the weekly challenge sent automatically by email.
You can share your post to Twitter using #TLC2014 and spark conversation with educators. In addition to posting on your own blog, you can elect to include your post in the weekly collection showcase blog. To do this, simply email your completed response post to the showcase, at firstname.lastname@example.org Make sure that you include the title of your post with the week of the prompt for proper tagging (e.g., "My Post Title | September 6, 2013") in the subject line (without "re:") of your email, and the full post laid out in paragraphs in the body of the email. Posts are automatically published from sending the email. You can embed images and URLs into the body of your email, and the post will publish while maintaining your formatting and layout. Check out others' responses in the response collection or on Google+ each week, leave them your comments, and get the conversation rolling ahead for teacher leadership.
This Week's Challenge:
Why might it be important for teachers to connect with other educators?
Let's face it, there are many things going on all at once in a classroom. Decisions regarding curriculum, instruction, assessment, grading, technology, and the well-being of students are only some of the many considerations going through a teacher's mind during a given day.
From being a manager, to decision maker, to content expert and leader, teachers wear many "hats" and their hat rack can often become very full.
Busy has become the status quo in education, and this is compounded by all of the outside influences of changing accountability and testing requirements. Add on top of all this the negative news stories and rhetoric that get directed at education on a regular basis, like the common myths about schools or teachers, and there can be plenty of reason to close the classroom door and pull the shade. Retreating to the classroom and isolating ourselves may seem like an easy way to avoid all of the negativity, distractions, and focus on the main thing, teaching and learning, but are we actually better off alone?
You don't escape all the decisions, demands, and challenges of classroom teaching simply because you choose not to believe they exist or you refuse to address them.
Teacher leaders have realized that there is power in numbers. We can learn from each other and with each other. By working together, we have the ability to make our teaching better, others' teaching better, and teaching better. Not only do we posses the ability to be teacher leaders, we have the responsibility to do so. Connecting with other educators can happen in a variety of ways. You might connect with teachers in your grade level team, department, building or professional learning communities. Beyond the walls of your school, you might attend conferences, be part of professional associations, blog, tweet, "tumbl," or "+" with other educators. Social media is a powerful tool for getting connected and networking with educators from around the world. Sharing your own classroom practice, but also learning from others' ideas, can help us to grow our instructional craft, our leadership, and our voice, because together we are louder.
What do you do to connect with other educators? Would you consider yourself a 'connected educator' or one who is involved in education circles? If you are starting to connect, what are your reasons for reaching out to other educators? What do you offer to teachers in your area or beyond, and what do you hope to learn from others? What value do you find in connecting with teachers around the world or locally in your area?
Image: "Teacher's Mind" by Some E-Cards