Openness is Pervasive

Teacher Leadership is kind of an awesome thing to see. When teachers feel empowered enough to create the future of their school, the limits just seem to vanish.

In teams that trust one another, learning happens and ideas are disseminated rapidly. When the doors are open for a reason, teachers really do have an expectation that you will be walking through to meet them. There is no illusion of movement or momentum where the teachers take on a leadership role. No one is trying to sound smarter than they are or trying to hide their students scores inside of some buffer. Transparency is not a buzzword, but rather a matter of discourse.

In a school where the teachers are empowered, this openness is pervasive. When a few teachers talk about doing their long-term planning using Google Docs, I hear the subtle whisper of an invitation to everyone to do the same. When that invitation becomes an expectation for all teachers in the school to take part, the classroom has shifted beyond the four walls.

Where I saw this happening most clearly last week was at the Sabin World School. This clarity came from a single protocol they use to establish consensus. They have set an expectation among teachers and leadership that if you do not agree with something said or a decision made, you must propose an alternative in order to voice your discontent. I love this. I love the intense level of trust this requires of teachers. I believe there is nothing so powerful as being compelled to create something rather than fearing what comes next. It changes your orientation.

The fact that you cannot just say no or stand in the way of change without proposing your own reasoning is groundbreaking.

It will impact students as well. If we trust teachers enough to create the change that they want to see, then we have to allow students to create that change as well. When I look at Sabin, and the teachers found within, I see the future of inquiry: asking the right questions, and making the right decisions based upon the needs of the teachers and students within the school.

Yeah, Teacher Leadership is kind of awesome.

Leave a Reply