Teachers are more often left out of decision-making processes in schools so, let us know about Instructional Leadership Teams. Although teachers are the ones who must implement changes in instruction. So, Leaders often do not include them in the discussions where these instructional decisions are made.
The social discipline window is typically used to illustrate the importance of restorative practices with students. The same image can be used to discuss the importance of allowing teachers to be part of decision-making processes. When a principal makes decisions, demonstrates a high level of control. And then dictates them to teachers, those decisions can sometimes feel punitive. When directors leave everything up to staff and provide little support, it can feel sloppy.
However, when leaders provide teachers with a high level of control but also a high level of support. The teachers become part of the process because they are now working with the administration instead of the administration.
CREATE A TEACHER LEAD TEAM WITH TEACHER REPRESENTATIVES
I am the headmaster of a small elementary school in the city district. As a former elementary school teacher myself, I understand the importance of working with my faculty. I am fortunate to have an experienced staff who work well together. And put students at the centre of every decision. That said, as an instructional leader in the building. I also understand the importance of inviting classroom teachers to sit at the table where they make instructional decisions. Our Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) is a perfect example of this.
When the team was born, it included only administrators and learning specialists. These specialists are essentially coaches who work with teachers and support small groups of students. One of the first things I did as a new principal was to request that the primary and intermediate teachers. Teams come together and nominate one person to represent them in our ILT. I needed the teachers’ perspective to ensure that we reduced the blind spots in our decision-making. It has been rewarding to have many voices and perspectives. On the team and I believe we are better for it.
Instructional Leadership Teams
So, Classroom teachers know the obstacles we encounter and have ideas on how to communicate with teachers. About suggestions for improving instruction. They also have insight into how programs are implemented. And have an important perspective to share as we search for the root causes of specific problems. Teachers know what everyday teaching looks like and how their colleagues perceive the demands they face. This view of the team enables us to make better and more informed decisions to continuously improve teaching and learning.
Additionally, when teachers are on instructional leadership teams like this one. A sense of community is created along with important instructional work. Teachers feel a shared sense of responsibility to each other and students. The ability to see and work with school-wide data helps teachers break out of their classrooms. Perspective and begin to better see where their part fits into the big picture.
Including teachers’ voices in our ILT has influenced my work as principal to ensure. We are constantly working to improve student outcomes and improve teaching practices at all levels. We have honest, sometimes difficult conversations with each other about what’s going well and what we could do better.
One such conversation focused on our students’ low performance on a New York State math test. After presenting the data to the team, we discussed that our students were unable to write coherently. About the strategies, they used to solve the problems and why. This realization led to a more difficult conversation about why this skills deficit was in grades 3–6. Our team concluded that we were not giving students enough time to solve problems. Together in partners and small groups to engage meaningfully in mathematics.
SUPPORT TEACHER INNOVATION IN PROGRAMMING AND ACTIVITIES
In addition to ILT, principals must give teachers room for innovation. One example is our school club program. Two years ago, my school received a grant for after-school enrichment. I let my faculty know about this opportunity and asked them to submit proposals for running school clubs. One of my teachers is an extracurricular beekeeper, so she suggested we buy hives and start a beekeeping club. We now have two beekeeping clubs, one for elementary school students and one for intermediate students.
The hives produce enough honey for us to sell to faculty and families. Beeswax is melted down by students in clubs and turned into lip balm and soap. These products are also sold to our faculty and families. All money goes back into the hives so we can purchase new queens if needed. And other materials we need to keep the club going. Watching the students learn about beekeeping was amazing.
I have seen our students go from fearing bees to developing a deep understanding of their importance. The ecosystem and becoming strong advocates for its conservation. These types of unique enrichment opportunities allow students to engage in authentic learning. That is hands-on, interdisciplinary, and requires critical thinking and the development of research skills.
Instructional Leadership Teams: SHARED LEARNING
I recommend that principals enable teachers to innovate because innovation brings fresh, new ideas into our school environment. Teacher innovation enables the development of rich and engaging units of study. That help expands students’ critical thinking skills and encourages the development of discourse such as debate and argumentation. Students learn how to research, explore new ideas, and converse about their learning. They learn to cooperate, respectfully disagree and argue facts. Students learn to take risks and deal with failure if something doesn’t work out on the first try.
Enabling teacher innovation also helps prevent teacher boredom and burnout. The more we can engage in shared leadership in our schools, the better the outcomes for all. And after all, isn’t that what we all strive for? So, more blogs will be coming in the Education section. Source: Mindshift