Change direction

TRAJECTORY  is , “a chosen or taken course”, and I think about the people in my life that have often inspired me to change my trajectory for the positive.  There are times, that my trajectory has changed for a positive in spite of people, and sometimes it has changed for a negative.  I am sure that I have impacted people in a negative way in the past, and I am trying to focus on helping others reach something that they didn’t think that they could possibly attain before.  Like most teachers/leaders, I want to make a difference.  Every action, interaction, and reaction you have with someone is an opportunity to change their path; I want them to move up because of me, not in spite of our interaction.  There will always be many choices in front of us.  Which path is for me at this point, I am not sure.

Leave a Legacy…

Leave a legacy…

 I think it’s human nature to wonder what people think about us. In fact, I would say at times we spend way too much time wondering what people will think as a result of something we said or did. Consequently, our actions are led not only by our personal beliefs and philosophies, but also by the perceived responses others might have…

As educators, I believe acknowledging what others think is a vital part of the self-reflective journey to always improve and get better. I think it’s also important to note that what others think should not be the driving force behind what we say and do; it’s merely a piece of the whole puzzle.

Wouldn’t it be nice to leave a positive legacy that will not only be remembered, but will serve as an inspiration and motivation for others for years to come?

What will your legacy be? For what will you be remembered?

Will your legacy be a legacy of treating others respectfully, fairly and individually?

Will your legacy be a legacy of trust and tolerance to the needs of others?

Will your legacy be a legacy of shared, collective and collaborative approaches toward improvement?

Will your legacy be a legacy of sincerity, selflessness and reliability?

Will your legacy be a legacy of humility and acceptance of failure as a means toward growth?

Will your legacy be a legacy of flexibility, enthusiasm and energy?

Will your legacy be a legacy of courage, strength and vision toward shared aspirations?

Will your legacy be a legacy of helping and serving others so they can achieve their goals?

Regardless of your profession or position in education, you have the luxury of developing and refining your legacy on a daily basis. Your legacy is in your hands and whether you realize it or not, people all around you are taking notice of what you are doing, or not doing…

What kind of legacy are you leaving…?

This was found via Twitter…can’t remember the resource.


Teacher Leaders

How do you know you’re ready to become a teacher leader? Will a trusted colleague tap you on the shoulder and say, “It’s time!”? Do you have to get so frustrated by something that you simply must speak up and work toward a solution? Maybe—but sometimes the signs are subtler. Here are a few things that may signal that you’re on the road to becoming a teacher leader:

Sign #1: You wish you had an impact beyond your classroom.

If you find yourself yearning to take an idea beyond your classroom, you’re probably ready to become a leader.

The first step might be as small as sharing a lesson plan with a colleague down the hall. Then you might spread your expertise further. Perhaps you will blog about how your students are using iPads to work on letter recognition, submit an article to your favorite professional journal, or share your knowledge in topic-focused Twitter chats. Or maybe your next step will be to help “unpack Common Core standards” for your department, or to offer to lead a workshop on bullying.

Whatever path you take, don’t wait to be invited. Act on your interests—you’ll be glad you did.

Sign #2: Colleagues often ask you for advice.

Are you a go-to teacher? You aren’t sure quite why, but your colleagues are beginning to turn to you (yes, YOU!) for advice on how to handle difficult situations. Guess what? You probably have what it takes to lead.

See Sign #1 for some ways to proceed. It’s great that your colleagues come to you for advice, but are there ways to share your expertise with even more educators?

Sign #3: You “think big” about problems.

When others are complaining, you’re imagining solutions. You can see ways that the system can change to help you and your colleagues to better serve students—whether at the school, district, state, or national level.

Maybe your next step is to have frank, open conversations with your principal about solving problems at your school. Maybe you will serve on a district leadership committee, acting as a spokesperson for your grade level at a school board meeting. Or perhaps you’ll become involved with teacher advocacy through your union.

Whatever the case, other teachers are beginning to look to you as someone who can help them move beyond frustration to positive action. You have the potential to extend the impact of your leadership by getting involved in district, state, and even national initiatives to improve teaching and learning.

Sign #4: You want to take new teachers under your wing.

You watch new teachers at your school and think, “Wow, I’ve been there and wished someone would help me out.” You have a keen sense of what kind of preparation teachers need to be successful in the classroom. You’ve probably offered advice and informal support to at least one new teacher.

Your next step might be to volunteer as a cooperating teacher for a preservice college student, or an official mentor to a new teacher in your building. Maybe you will agree to serve on a “walk-through” team, observing teachers and offering helpful feedback. You might even become an instructional coach or take on a hybrid role in which you are adjunct faculty at a local teacher- preparation program.

Whatever the case, you care about the future of the profession. When you begin to invest time and energy in new teachers or preservice teachers, it’s a sure sign that you’re becoming a leader.

Sign #5: You always want to know more!

You are afflicted with lifelong learning. What you know about the profession isn’t enough—you are eager to dig deeper into pedagogical strategies and/or your content area. You read. A lot.

Perhaps you’ve already taken one next step: enrolling in a master’s program. Or maybe you’ve already developed a Personal Learning Network of teachers across the country who regularly exchange ideas and help each other improve. And you might also be pursuing the rewarding but challenging experience of seeking National Board Certification. So many avenues for learning!

So …

When you find yourself writing, advising, listening, collaborating, networking, seeking knowledge, reflecting, be aware. These are traits of leadership. Know, too, that there is no one “correct” path to becoming a teacher leader. I encourage you to check out the Teacher Leader Model Standards, which highlight a range of ways for teacher leaders to improve schools.

The right next step for you will depend on your own strengths, ambitions, and circumstances. But I can promise you this: When you go beyond what is expected, when you act on your desire to develop and learn, you won’t regret it.

By Marsha Ratzel
Published Online: February 21, 2012