Just as Mr. Duke mentioned in his previous blog, our roles as instructional coaches have definitely taken us out of our comfort zones. Until this year, I was content and happy being in my science department bubble, and other than the few other teachers around me, I didn’t know much about what was going on in other classrooms in our building.
Now don’t get me wrong, the science department rocks! But this year, getting out of my comfort zone and stepping out of that bubble, I have grown as an educator by getting to know my colleagues. We truly have amazing teachers in our district that continually work their tails off for our students. Whether it is rocking an amazing lesson, or working collaboratively with other teachers to solve problems, the interactions I have had with teachers have made me a better instructor, and stronger instructional leader.
I love learning from others, especially when there is such a wealth of knowledge within the classroom doors of our district.
It has been interesting to discover two very distinct types of teacher leaders in our buildings. On one hand, you have the outspoken leaders- you know who they are. They constantly stand up for what they believe in and are happy to share their wealth of knowledge and demonstrate their skills. They are great to work with because you always know where they stand. I always feel like I can talk forever with these leaders solving the problems of the educational world, (well at least we like to try!).
I have learned that in past years, I have surrounded myself with these people because they are most like me and I truly value and enjoy our conversations.
On the other hand, I have discovered our other teacher leaders this year, the ones that, just as our outspoken leaders do, inspire and engage our kids daily and spend time reading and researching effective instructional strategies, but unless you talk to them, you may not know how amazing they truly are. This group of silent leaders has caused me to grow the most as a teacher leader during my first few months as an instructional coach.
Thank you to our silent leaders. You let me learn from you, whether it is sending me literature to read or reaching out to me with questions. I appreciate getting to know you, understanding your mastery of pedagogy, and learning from your actions. I love picking your brain, and I love even more asking you to share your skills (leading workshops, presenting your knowledge at other schools, joining forces at professional development conferences) and your willingness to do so.
We have so many silent leaders in our district waiting to be discovered, encouraged, pushed and heard. Since my gig started in June, I been learning from, and working with many silent leaders and I continue to be fueled by discovering and working with more.
The art of leadership is influence. And in this profession, the way we are structured, we often work in isolation. How do we encourage our silent leaders to stand up and make a more global impact with their influence? Leadership is the ability to influence others – and that may never happen if our silent leaders are waiting on someone else to discover their strengths. I challenge our silent leaders to push themselves to share their best practices instead of waiting for someone else to discover them.
A Second Semester Challenge for us all:
- Discover a silent leader and/or talk to someone you don’t usually talked to. Discover what they stand for, identify something you can learn and encourage them to share their knowledge.
- To our silent leaders, share your knowledge with someone new.
(If you need a suggestion of a silent leader, feel free to ask me; I would love to brag about them!)
Ms Lizzie Del Campo Hartman