The current Fall 2010 issue of Independent School is titled, The Next Generation: New Leaders, New Thinking. There are some great pieces about developing new leadership in administration. Article, by Reveta Bowers talks about “passing the baton to a new generation of leaders who will lead with skill, knowledge, and heart.”
There are many more articles like that in that vain or ones that offer advice for people seeking leadership roles.
Unfortunately, I love the classroom too much to leave it. Will this change in a few years? Who knows? The traditional options for academic advancement while remaining a classroom teacher are few and far between. There’s the Ph.D route, but I’m not interested in teaching teachers or doing the research, though I’m fascinated by ed. research and love reading about it. There’s also the Ed.D route, but most of those programs are designed for people who want to take on administrative roles. What’s left for teachers is often “trainings” or “workshops” in various programs. As mentioned in the Reeves book, Transforming Professional Development into Student Results, the focus should be on people and practices rather than the programs.
So what’s a classroom teacher, who wants to remain a classroom teacher to do? I’m not sure what the answer to that is yet. One can only sit on so many committees without taking away from their primary role of being a classroom teacher.
Trying to influence policy changes when you’re not the one who makes those decisions can be difficult. The subheading of the title to the issue of Independent School contains the words “New Thinking.” Ed. reform or change is hard, especially if you’re one of those people who are comfortable with the saying, “If it aint broke….” Issues in education continue to evolve. We learn more about how kids’ brains work – how memory works. We learn more about certain practices. The world is changing rapidly. I wasn’t taught about sustainability and gardening, but they’re both important things to learn about.
All I know is many of us just want to become better at what we do, and we have to keep learning and practicing in order to do that. Thats purpose and mastery. According to Daniel Pink, in his book, Drive, one also needs a certain amount of autonomy to remain motivated and passionate.
There’s another great article in the Independent School issue about Innovation, titled “Creating a Culture of Innovation Now.” One of the principles listed is: “Innovation, not instant perfection.”
Learning is messy, involves taking risks, and includes failures and successes. This is true whether you’re a second grader, or a classroom teacher trying to grow.