Saturday, September 6, 2014

Good Mentors and Teacher Leaders

Say this three times fast.

Good teacher mentors mentor other teachers.
Good teacher mentors mentor other teachers.
Good teacher mentors mentor other teachers.

When I think of good mentors, I think of the teacher leaders that exist at my school site. As a successful mentor, they lead out from their classrooms and help support other teacher leaders in the making. This summer, I was supported by my entire school site to complete the San Diego Area Writing Project (SDAWP)'s Summer Institute. The four weeks were packed with opportunities to challenge myself, learn from others, and begin my solid foundation of being a teacher leader. For the Summer Institute, I wrote a position paper on a topic that defines a significant part of the teacher life I pursue - Teacher Leadership.

An excerpt:

Teacher leaders are teachers who take their expertise outside of the classroom. We do not fear change, we invite it. We take steps to improve ourselves, knowing there is an infinite number of ways to be better. Teacher leaders work best together and promote professional development and growth. We plan and collaborate with principals and teachers, not just students. Teacher leader voices are loud and most definitely heard.
Defeated by my experience at CEG, I became skeptical about schools and the role of the teacher. I proceeded with caution through the gates of San Diego Global Vision Academies (SDGVA), where I had accepted a second grade teaching position. This cautious concern would continue to ebb away with each step I take with SDGVA for this is where I discovered what it means to be a teacher leader. Teacher leaders were honored and raised carefully here, their craft improved and cultivated through professional development, teaching community, and whole site support. We were protected and nurtured through our interactions; consider this example.
Our healthy professional development chatter buzzed rapidly through the room; the mentor cuts loudly over us with directions. We are critiquing our progress with Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) in math. I held my breath as the video cued up on screen. The first and third grade teachers huddled in anticipation of seeing my video of Zoey completing a subtraction problem. “Notice your strengths that you’ve been gaining in questioning and pay attention to where you may have interrupted the student’s thinking or closed off their inquiry with a closed ended question,” our mentor chimes. Now this was an environment in which I could learn, share, and flourish.

Excerpt from Teacher Leaders: To Lead and Be Heard

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