My hope is that the students and staff in Merton see me as an instructional leader. I am fortunate to work with a very professional staff who truly believes in the abilities of all of our students. As an instructional leader, I am involved in a number of committees (math, reading, writing, and Response to Intervention) as a participant and contributor. Most of the time I feel that I need to do more in these leadership roles, but the teachers on these committees are truly the experts and I believe that they are very capable of leading the conversations.
One exceptional opportunity that I had involved a week long trip to New York City to attend a Writer's Workshop training at the Teachers College at Columbia University. This week long trip involved a lot of learning with five teachers and a principal and our experience was unbelievable. We spent most of our waking hours together and even during "down time" we talked about writing. It was a tremendous week of learning that I will never forget. Being able to learn with the teachers provided all of us the opportunity to discuss how we teach writing in our district. Our discussions were rich and deep and have provided us with a direction for teaching writing to all of our students. When we returned, we met to organize how we would share our learning with the staff and our discussions continued to be great learning opportunities for us all. The staff loved what we had to offer and we are now the "experts" that many of the staff come to for advice and to share our successes.
What did I learn about this experience? I learned that diving in to learn with your teachers cannot be taken lightly. We learned from and with each other during the week long trip and we continue to meet to discuss our next steps with students and staff. I also learned that you don't need to go on a week long trip to learn together. I need to continue to learn with the staff to become a better instructional leader. This learning can happen in a one hour meeting, a half-day inservice, or at any time. All you need to do is jump in with the proper frame of mind and learn together. The students and staff will thank you for it.