In the Classroom Leadership
December 10, 2017
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Hayley Cloud

The Wright brothers created the world’s first powered airplane because they shared the same curiosity and intellect. Michael Jordan completed 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association with the help of a skilled team. Helen Keller devoted much of her life to raising awareness for people with disabilities after overcoming challenges with the help of Annie Sullivan. Martin Luther King Jr. had a grand impact on the Civil-Rights Movement because of the many demonstrators that followed him in his efforts. For centuries, some of the most influential people in history have changed the world as a result of synergy. Synergy is when two or more people interact, cooperate, or collaborate to produce a greater result.  Synergy is vital to creating effective schools.

Teachers are the number one educational influence that regularly interacts with students. However, they are only a fraction of the group of people needed for all students to succeed academically. Reaching out to all others who influence education offers a more effective and efficient way to make positive and powerful changes in education. Here’s how:

  1. Share your intellect like the Wright Brothers:

They say two heads are better than one. The Wright brothers proved that to be true. When two or more people share their ideas, skills, and experiences, new ideas, skills, and experiences emerge. It is essential that teachers not isolate themselves, but share their intellect with others around them, as well as reach out to others as often as needed.

  1.  Work alongside your skilled team like Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” In education, it is important to build a team. That team should consist of teachers, students, parents, district leaders, community members, and state leaders. Team members should form trusting relationships, openly communicate, work to reach common goals, and be willing to make contributions. Effective, skilled teams are the key to transforming schools and improving learning.

  1. Reach out to others to overcome challenges like Helen Keller

It’s no secret. Teaching can be really hard at times. Teachers face many challenges each day. Rather than trying to overcome them alone, teachers should reach out to others to help them clear the hurdles. Mentor teachers, coaches, or even the teacher next door are great places to start. Overcoming a challenge could take something as simple as a friendly chat, or it could be a little more labor-intensive, requiring data collection and action research. The important thing to remember is teachers don’t have to do it alone. An even more important thing to remember is that they should seek the “forward-thinking” teachers, the teachers who will help them, nurture them, and see that they grow from the experience, just as Annie Sullivan did for Helen Keller.

  1. Support leaders in their efforts like the demonstrators did for Martin Luther King Jr.:

There were approximately 250,000 people present at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s monumental “I Have a Dream” speech. King was an influential leader who had a clear vision of bringing about social change. His followers shared that same vision, and as a result, were a significant part of his successes. Supporting school leaders is among the many responsibilities a teacher has, and it is a very important one. Just as it is a leader’s job to make sure teachers are improving, it is the teacher’s job to ensure their leaders are also growing in their practice. It is important for teachers to listen, offer encouragement, work closely, and provide them with the support needed to improve education. Teachers can help build them into better leaders by inviting them in the classroom, being transparent, and offering their positive voice. That same idea also goes for district and state leaders.

When stakeholders at every level of education have synergy, they possess an all-powerful tool. Their collaborative efforts can ensure students across the state and nation achieve at high levels, receive a quality education, and enter college and the workforce prepared for success. Alone our efforts are limited. Together we can powerfully change education.

Hayley teaches 3rd grade at West Chester Elementary School. She has been teaching with the Chester County School System for 4 years. Hayley is presently serving as a teacher leader/data coach in her school. She is also a member of the district writing team. She has led PLCs within her district and has attended focus groups concentrating on supporting Tennessee educators. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Memphis. She is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging her colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.

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