In a PLC, Leadership Is Not Lonely!
Even though some students learn regardless of the teacher assigned to them, we know that strong teachers impact the learning of all students. Can the same be said for teachers and leaders? Even though some teachers are great regardless of the leadership, all teachers can improve under strong leadership. Students need effective teachers. Teachers need effective leaders.
Being an effective leader is very synonymous to being an effective teacher in a PLC. The skills for leading are already embedded in the process itself. By taking each of the 3 Big Ideas and looking at them through a leadership perspective, we can identify immediate steps a person can take to lead teachers and students to greater success.
Big Idea #1: Focus on Learning
Show yourself as a learner by learning alongside your teachers: don’t have all the answers, assist with finding the right ones.
- Turn faculty meetings into learning meetings or extra time for teams
- Use newsletters to share with parents the learning that is happening in schools
- Use faculty memos to highlight team or whole-school progress toward increase student achievement
Big Idea #2: Create a Collaborative Culture
Often times, there appears to be confusion between a collaborative team and a collaborative culture. The teams are just a part of the culture. The culture itself allows for teams to explore, create, and define their work.
- Be positive, not punitive
- Promote action research with results
- Allow teams an all-school forum for sharing their work and their results
Big Idea #3: Focus on Results
If we continuously weigh our actions against the ultimate success of students, we find ourselves much more focused. The things that can often clutter a leader and a teacher’s day are relegated to the back of the list. It doesn’t mean things don’t get done, but oftentimes the things with little impact are taken care of by focusing on the things with the greatest positive impact on learning.
- Be transparent about school data
- Be a part of data meetings, from assisting with accessing to analyzing
- Develop school-wide support for interventions
This is a short list for getting started. Once a leader begins thinking through the lens of promoting each of these big ideas, the ideas can grow at a rate faster than any one person can accomplish. So, here is a caution and a reminder. The caution is to always evaluate the idea against the question, “Will this idea produce results that will increase student success?” The reminder is that collaborative teams are a large part of a PLC. No one has to do the work alone. In a PLC, leadership is not lonely!