Guest-teaching can help build administrator-teacher relations
- Writing for Edutopia, Collingswood-Oaklyn Public Schools (NJ) Chief Academic Officer Brian Kulak details the positive impact of utilizing "flash lessons," in which administrators teach short lessons in their district's classrooms to strengthen connections with teachers.
- Beyond expounding upon the concept, Kulak includes reflections from the teachers whose classes he contributed to, as varied as high school Integrated Science, special education, U.S. History II, a first-grade Writer's Workshop, ninth-grade Honors Biology and ninth-grade English language arts.
- The teachers involved write that it was a learning experience for them as well as for their students and allowed them to step back and see their lessons, classrooms and pupils in new ways.
Whether they have a background in the classroom or not, district administrators can benefit from staying in touch with what actually goes on in the classroom. Aside from giving them a first-hand idea of the challenges teachers face or their actual performance, guest teaching can also help classroom teachers become better acquainted with district personnel and better make their cases for those challenges. This can be particularly beneficial in districts that embrace teacher agency rather than top-down decision-making, especially when the guest teacher is in a position such as chief academic officer.
These opportunities can extend to a variety of administrators and their experiences. At the higher ed level, for example, campus CIOs have found that teaching can often help them gain trust among professors — a critical detail when trying to convince them to adopt a new tech tool or platform. Emulating this approach at the K-12 level can serve that purpose as well, giving educators more faith that decisions are being made with a clear understanding of their needs and concerns while also taking full advantage of the experiences a variety of district employees can contribute to learning.
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