Welcome to my blog!
This blog will be primarily aimed at innovative educational techniques but will however have the occasional post about education in general.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I just re-read this article "When School Leaders Empower Teachers, Better Ideas Emerge" because I am personally struggling as a teacher in a school where I don't think this is happening.

If I were a principal I would view my position as the educational leader with responsibility to see to the education of the students, the professional development of the teachers and the management of the school. These are all my responsibilities, but I cannot (and should not) do it all on my own!! In all schools there will be many people there to help me. I would delegate the power to individuals for certain jobs or tasks. By doing so I will increase the leadership in the teachers and staff as well as improving the idea that it is “our school”. I will delegate the authority and lend support, but I will never forget that I am the one stakeholders will hold responsible and accountable. 

It is this "delegating power" that gets tricky. In the article,Chris Lehmann, principal of Science Leadership Academy, is quoted stating "Distributed leadership is not ‘I empower you to do exactly what I say,’ ”it is a way to give the teachers the power to make decisions and affect change. The article goes on stating "For teachers to buy into a system like this, which asks more of their time outside class, they must feel they are professionals trusted by leadership" and "teachers have to know that support from leadership won’t be pulled away at the first bump or disagreement. There has to be space for different perspectives." 

Trusted by leadership. What a concept!! Too many times has an administrator asked me to do something or lead something without empowering me. It is frustrating because I do everything I can as a teacher, but without the principal's empowerment I can only do so much. 

Now to the the one line I don't like. It really is only the word "responsibility" in the first line of the following excerpt  I don't like:
“Just because you are empowered to take responsibility, there’s still that need for support,” said educator Lisa Williams. “That has to come from on top, on bottom and from left and right.” Other educators acknowledged that when power is distributed and then ripped away, it often results in disenchanted teachers disinclined to participate again."
It really should be "...your are empowered with the authority...". This comes from my Marine Corps days at NCO school: "You can delegate authority but you cannot delegate responsibility". The responsibility for everything about the school remains solely with the principal. Period.

"When done well, distributing leadership creates a community of people on the same page, working hard toward defined goals". Isn't this what a school should be like? As a hopeful future administrator it is what I will strive for!!