I’ve been thinking about where a person can have the greatest impact on educational change. I know as a teacher that, with the right administrator and connections with other educators, you can create change within the classroom and, if you are a lead teacher or given the encouragement, you can influence and impact other teachers. I don’t doubt that what each teacher does has an incredible impact on the students they see but as for impacting actual change in education, the influence seems to be slight in most cases.
As an administrator, I know that I have impact on change with the staff. It is part of my role as educational leader to be evaluating what we are doing and then examining what we might do differently to increase the effects on the students in the school. I know that initiatives from central office need to have my support and my backing in order for them to be successful. This means that I am always looking at how I might help teachers as they seek to improve what they are doing. At the division level, I know that being part of various initiatives allows for input at the ground level and can have an influence on the way that the division moves in relation to particular initiatives.
At the superintendent and director level, I’m still not sure about although I see that it is at this level that initiatives begin and movement takes place. It is at this level that the plans can impact many areas and have an influence on various system changes.
I guess each one has its unique ability to influence what is happening in the classroom and how the students are affected. The farther away from the classroom, the less direct the impact. However, for any major shift to take place, must it not have a catalyst at the senior administration level?
My reason for this is that I was so looking forward to working with teachers in using various technologies in enhancing some of the intiatives that were taking place in the school. Most of them begin at the division level but it was my hope that we would be able to infuse what we were doing with tools that would assist students in learning and creating. Thus far, I haven’t been able to do this because of the number of things that are going on and the time they are taking from my administrative time some of which I had planned to use for assisting teachers. As for the classroom level, there have been a number of teachers who have expressed interest but their time is being used working through the initiatives that have come to us.
As I watch and take part in the various conversations via twitter and other networks, I see that there are many teachers who are impacting their students’ learning. However, would there be a greater impact if, at the central office level, there were initiatives that gave supported this type of teaching across a greater number? I really want to create the conditions for teachers to explore new strategies and use some of these new tools but it seems, with all that we are doing, there is little left for such endeavours to take place, even for motivated teachers. Maybe it’s just a phase we are needing to adjust to and once these initiatives become part of the fabric of the school, we can explore different strategies. I just wonder if we’ll ever really have that oppotrunity or if I need to reexamine what we are doing and find the time regardless of what is happening. Any ideas?