/ October 2, 2023

Growing Generations of Teachers Leaders

NHLI occasionally features blogs by students of the Southern New Hampshire University’s Competency-Based Leadership and Learning graduate program. Heather Rogers wrote the blog below for her Reflective Leadership Course.

Historically, any change in methodology, pedagogy, or program that has been directed to staff in a “top down” approach has great difficulty taking root. Entrusting teachers to create, promote, and engage in positive, successful, and effective professional development encourages investment in the change process and ownership of the outcomes of change. Teachers who are charged with sharing the responsibility of instructional and pedagogical change are more likely to enthusiastically influence and encourage others to engage in the change process. The seeds of teacher leadership must be planted, cultivated, and nourished. 

      Planting the seeds: It begins with one, a teacher leader who inspires, encourages, and envisions the change process. This leader believes in the vision, sees the value, and establishes the goals to move forward. This leader models change by inviting others to “see” change happening within their own environment. This leader is not afraid to plant seeds in hopes that these seeds will continue to grow and ultimately take root throughout the teaching community.

     Cultivating the seeds: This stage takes time and patience. The leader develops a team that observes, models, debriefs, and reflects throughout the journey and cultivates the team in order for it to flourish. The team grows in numbers as they feel trusted, respected, and valued. Their voice is heard and supported. This team takes root cultivated by success and is strengthened by failures as they are provided with support. The strength of the seeds allows them to weather the risks of growth in their own professional practice.

     Nourishment: Nourishment begins when teachers begin collaborating with each other. Creating a community of practice not only improves individual professional practice but the practice of all. As success pollinates throughout the team, the change process itself takes root. Members work together on the shared vision, and implement change in stages supporting each other’s individual growth. In the end, the cultivation of creation, engagement, and trust promotes a flourish of professional growth. Individual investment in the field of seeds leads to ownership in the outcomes of cultivation. Nourishment based on effort, energy, and attention assures the field of practice that their efforts, risks, and commitment to change are continually supported by the strength of each other. As the community of practice grows and strengthens new growth goals are created. Just as healthy plants promulgate new growth, the community of practice spreads its message of change, identifies new leaders, and cultivates their strengths to create new gardens of change and success. Successful generational leadership is critical to the success of the change process. Change is not annual growth. Change is perennial growth. Perennial growth is the influencing element of successful change. When seeds are planted, cultivated, and nourished they grow into a beautiful garden. This garden continues to grow and pollinate new seeds, and thus the cycle of change remains continuous, creating generational leadership that remains strong.

Heather J Rogers

Categories: Building Relationships CBL Leadership and Structural Support Distributed Leadership Guiding Coalition PLC (Professional Learning Communities) Teacher Leadership

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