Denise thinks it is unacceptable that we undervalue our students by undervaluing ourselves and the teaching profession. She thinks that by empowering teachers we’ll be better equipped to empower students. But her reality at the start of her Changemaker journey was that some teachers were relying heavily on leaders to make all of the decisions, they felt overwhelmed, disillusioned and frustrated (rather than empowered), and want to make a difference but don’t know how to start. Ultimately, Denise decided that some teachers couldn’t see their potential for impact.
Denise’s solution involved three levels of innovation..
Firstly, she developed a weekly newsletter called Impact on Learning which is sent out to all staff on current research and trends to encourage them to both reflect on and discuss their impact with each other.
Secondly, Denise is running BUILD, a teacher professional learning course for the ‘unofficial leaders’ at her school, with the aim of developing leadership capacity by ‘inspiring aspirings’, using evidence of their impact. During BUILD, staff undertake some action research on an area of the school plan and track the impact of their interventions. The hope is that this also contributes to accreditation at higher levels for these teachers.
Finally, she is running fortnightly Head Teacher induction sessions on the concepts that the aspiring leaders are looking at in BUILD in an effort to create a shared language of and process for change within the staff body.
To date, Denise’s project has positively impacted 1300 students at her school. There are 18 Head Teachers completing the induction sessions and 27 beginning the BUILD program next week (including 5 from primary feeder schools). 100 teachers engage with Impact on Learning on a weekly basis. Those are some pretty sweet numbers.
Denise shared a story of one staff member in the BUILD program who has been working on collecting data of his impact and sharing it with her. He has now created a new leadership role for himself, pitched it to the Executive Team, and is now leading others. We reckon that’s what empowerment looks like.
Like the idea?
Denise would love your support for BUILD, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Denise and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
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