Standard #10: Leadership and Collaboration
The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.
Typically when one thinks of a leader he imagines someone who is authoritative, demanding, and has a very strong personality. However, a true leader is someone who actively goes out of her way to help her peers, colleagues, and students. A leader is also someone who is a good listener and knows how to make difficult decisions for the good of the group, or more specifically the students. Furthermore, a leader knows how to collaborate with others to come up with the best possible solution or goal and can guide his students towards success. A teacher who also makes a great leader actively seeks out opportunities to serve the community, whether it be on a school board, helping with a community fundraiser, or doing research that promotes creativity and innovation within the professional community of educators.
One of my most memorable leadership experiences I have had occurred during the second week of my student teaching placement; my cooperating teacher (or C.T.) fell ill unexpectedly and was unable to be at school. I did not know this until that Wednesday morning and had only planned to teach one full class that day. I was extremely nervous and anxious, but my C.T. left extremely detailed instructions and sub lesson plans for the substitute and me. Unfortunately, neither subs on either day were musically inclined and were somewhat timid, so I had to take the reigns completely. Despite my nervousness I made the best of it and made a point to greet students as they walked in the door, keep the room tidy and organized, and explain the situation to the students at the beginning of each class and that I expected the same respect from them as they have for my C.T. Almost all of my students were eager to work with me, and many even asked if there was anything they could do to help (setting up the room, passing out worksheets, etc.). I confidently and smoothly handled various responsibilities and discipline issues. I kept in contact with my C.T. before and after school via text, phone, and e-mail to discuss lesson plans, student behavior, and logistical responsibilities. I exemplified leadership and professionalism in that situation, and I feel that that experience set me up for success very early on in my student teaching placement.
Student teaching provided me various opportunities to establish relationships and communication among parents and teachers. E-mail communication with parents was essential. If a student playing a larger instrument such as double bass or tuba had a school instrument and a take-home instrument and needed repairs, I would need to communicate with the parent how to make minor repairs or where to take the instrument. Also, some students were enrolled in both choir and band or orchestra, so I had to regularly discuss accommodations for rehearsals and after-school tutoring for missed material with parents. Building relationships with my fellow teachers also opened me up to opportunities to perform in the community, or get advice on a lesson plan or project I was working on. For our winter concert, I had to coordinate with the media production teacher to help set up various cameras and recording equipment to capture the ensembles as well as each teacher's conducting.