Our readings and discussions during this first module have opened my eyes to the many ways teachers can serve as leaders and not only advance their own professional knowledge but promote positive school wide changes as well. Smylie, Conley and Marks (2011) describe teacher research as one such practice that promotes teacher leadership. I found it interesting that, while the concept of teacher as researcher has been around since the early 1900’s, such teacher inquiries and investigations were never called “research” until much later (Hilty, E., 2011, p. 269). I would like to believe that this revised terminology marked a change in the value and respect that was placed on the profession of teaching.
Another practice that was discussed and mentioned in our readings is professional trust and transparency. Teachers who collaborate and open up their teaching practices and data to their colleagues for review and discussion contribute to an ever growing supply of resources. Such collaborative teams enhance their own learning and professional development. School communities that foster professional trust and transparency also empower outliers to speak and be heard. (Hirsh, S. & Hord, S., 2010, p.14).
I appreciate the notion of transparency in the profession of teaching. It seems that this is somewhat lacking in many other professions. For example, in scientific research communities most discoveries are not shared with other researchers until the data has been written up and published. This is necessary in order to ensure that the research group gets proper credit for their work, but it also delays the sharing of vital information by months and sometimes years.
Hirsh, S. & Hord, S. (2010). Building hope, giving affirmation: Learning communities that address social justice issues bring equity to the classroom. Journal of Staff Development, 31(4), 10-17.
Smylie, A., Conley, S., & Marks, H. (2011). Exploring new approaches to teacher leadership for school improvement. In E. Hilty, Teacher leadership: The “new” foundations of teacher education (pp. 265-279). New York, New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.