Last year, I was just learning how to juggle the responsibilities of a math coach and a math teacher. I asked for a program where I could simultaneously help improve instruction throughout the building and test it myself. It gave me buy-in with most of the teachers, particularly the ones who were most reluctant to participate in any real math discussion. In the classroom and the building, there were highs and lows, but I learned a lot after surviving the balancing act between coaching and teaching.
I started to see things in a different light from an administrative perspective. That new vision allowed me to get a better worldview for the complexities of running a school, and what needs to be done in order to assure that all students get proper education. A big piece of that is teacher quality and leadership. If teachers are invested in their own professional development and creating their own formulations for what’s happening in their classrooms (as long as there’s a set of high expectations), then the education improves.
I also started to see how even the pieces that seem inconsequential to a school running really make all the difference around the lives of the personnel. Thus, if we make those pieces part of a streamlined and useful process, then people gravitate towards that. Because of my hectic schedule, it became important to be more efficient with my work and effective wherever I was.
This year, I’ve been able to handle the majority of my tasks without compromising them. In the classroom, I found better ways to explain the material to my students through discussion and collaboration with my colleagues. Outside of the classroom, I’ve become more consistent with getting things done, even as they’ve gotten more complex in nature. I’ve also been more helpful with teachers, visiting classrooms for extended periods of time whenever possible.
Nowadays, the term teacher-leader has become popular, and I’m proud to be among those ranks.