“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” (Berry, 2011, p.210).
I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Bond in the summer of 2010. We looked in depth at teacher leadership and I was inspired by the notion that teachers can and should lead from the classroom. I had never really thought of myself as a teacher leader before. I knew I was a good teacher who nurtured positive relationships with her students, her parents, the staff at the school and the community in general. I didn’t realize, however, that many of the things I was doing actually made me a teacher leader! Once I recognized the potential power of my role in my school community I decided to take action. I developed a Professional Development plan for my school that involved the instigation of Professional Development Communities (PLCs). Teachers were given a menu of choice and joined the PLC they felt fitted their individual learning needs. Being a member of a PLC was optional but many teachers were enthused at the opportunity to direct their own professional learning.
A year later the PLCs are thriving. Teachers are involved in professional dialogue about their students and it has been amazing to observe my school community colleagues grow and learn together. We have been involved in many topics from “Teaching with Love and Logic” to reading the Berry book. We have Tech Mondays where teachers from all grade levels come and share a technology tool they are using in their classrooms. Increasing numbers of staff have been involved in presenting at the PLC meetings and while I, and a few other teachers remain the main facilitators, we have enjoyed seeing our colleagues begin to take on their own teacher leadership role.
We now have a wiki which I have set up. It’s sole purpose is to extend our discussions beyond those who cannot attend meetings. While it is in its early stages and uptake has been slow, we really hope that this will progress to a Professional Learning Network, unconstrained by the time or physical boundaries.
Watch this space…