- Advance teacher-leadership by transforming yourself, mentoring, identifying needs, clearing obstacles and distractions, and focusing on self-care.
- NOW is the time for mentors and school leaders to challenge self-doubt, soothe despair, and invest in our teacher-leaders.
The COVID-19 crisis has proven that extraordinary change can happen in a short period of time. Nearly every aspect of educational practice—planning, teaching and assessment, structuring physical and virtual classrooms, engaging and connecting with students, families and colleagues—has been transformed at a moment’s notice. The time is NOW to advance teacher-leadership.
Just as remarkable are the personal transformations that have occurred. Educators have led through the crisis. They have been creators, caregivers and counselors, advocates, activists, and action researchers. In addition, they have managed incredible stress while supporting kids and families through stresses of their own.
Is it possible to embrace and learn from this time of change and leverage these transformations? How can we encourage new teacher-leaders to emerge and developing leaders to flourish?Educators have led through the crisis. They have been creators, caregivers and counselors, advocates, activists, and action researchers. Click To Tweet
Mentoring as Tactical Care
As a school leader, I believe we must reveal teachers’ own leadership to themselves. And one conversation or tap-on-the-shoulder can light the spark.
People grow people. Educators need mentors to name their strengths and help grow their influence—one person, one opportunity at a time. It’s tactical care for the individual and the learning community.
From Need to Opportunity
First, we survey the needs—both instructional and practical. Then we help teacher-leaders identify particular strengths they can leverage to meet those needs. Every interaction is an opportunity to come alongside others for mutual benefit and growth.[scroll down to keep reading]
Clear the Way
Next, we clear away obstacles and distractions. Worry and frustration = waste. Root out, reduce and eliminate the frustrations we can. Further, reframe setbacks as opportunities for learning and relationship-building. Making progress on complex situations or overwhelming needs is a long game. Every attempt lays the foundation for future success.
Self-Care as Community Care
Finally, we model how to conserve and restore the energy we can so that all may continue to serve. Relationships are among our most priceless protective and recovery mechanisms. So, laugh together. Lighten the load. Promote limit-setting and ‘unplugging’ to balance personal and family priorities. Companion those in distress. Above all, keep asking, “What do you need? How can I help?”
Advancing Teacher-Leadership Together
To sum up, we’ve proven that strength and creativity can grow out of adversity. NOW is the time for mentors and school leaders to challenge self-doubt, soothe despair, and invest in our teacher-leaders.
More than ever before, we MUST be dealers in HOPE!
About Brad Hughes
Brad is the host of The Good News, Brad News Podcast. He is an elementary school principal with 25 years’ experience in education. He is currently at Forest Hill Public School in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, designated a HERO Generation school in the Waterloo Region District School Board. Prior to becoming a school leader, Brad taught for 16 years in classrooms from Kindergarten to eighth grade, most recently teaching middle school Visual Arts, French and Special Education.
Brad is a certified Self-Reg School Champion and has an ongoing commitment to reframing the joys and challenges of school life through a Self-Reg lens. Brad and his wife Jennifer are proud parents of a son and daughter both in university. Brad is an optimist and recovering perfectionist, passionate about improving the kids’ lives by loving and supporting the adults that serve them.