Returning to the Classroom Isn’t a Dimished Role

This one is brief. Just something that is bouncing around in my head after I returned from the Connect conference in Niagara Falls last week.

At Connect, I had the opportunity to chat with several members of my PLN. These conversations usually lead to questions regarding our roles for the coming school year, and beyond. My response: I’m completing my third year in the role of Learning Technologies Coordinator, and I have one year remaining in this position. However, this response wasn’t usually enough to appease their interest, most wanted to know my intentions after my contract is complete, the assumption being that I would be actively pursuing administration. However, this isn’t the case, at least not in the near future. To respond to their additional probing, I would say, I’m returning to the classroom. This often triggered raised eyebrows, not in a negative way, more out of curiosity. After this happened a couple of times, I began to think about the underlying reasons for this reaction.

Was it because many in a Learning Coordinator position choose to become administrators when their contract expires? Is pursuing administration seen as the next logical step? Am I to be flattered by the assumption that I would be successful in the role of administrator? Perhaps all three? Whatever the reason, I was left thinking about how we view the move back to the classroom as being something of a lesser role than choosing the administration path. I have some thoughts:

  1. It’s not a prerequisite to have a leadership title to be leader. This may have been the case several years ago, but not anymore. In our connected world, the notion that a leader must posses a designated title in order to have an impact and positive influence on others is no longer necessary. Not too long ago, I wrote a post titled We All Have the Potential to Lead which further develops this idea. I don’t feel that my impact will be diminished in any way because I am no longer a Learning Coordinator. Quite the opposite, I strongly believe that the impact I have on others will be amplified by the fact that I am in front of students, all day, every day. I’ll be walking the walk.
  2. A little over a year from now, I will have spent four years supporting others, sharing best practices, and learning a lot of amazing things from others along the way. I feel that it is both my duty to put my words into practice, and to satisfy my desire to implement everything that I will have learned over the four years in my current role.

I am not trying to suggest that teachers have a more important role than administrators, they don’t. I only want to convey that being a classroom teacher has the potential to be at least as impactful as an administrator, or another position holding a leadership title.

When I tell others that I am eventually returning to the classroom, I don’t see it is a diminished role, I see it as an incredible opportunity to hone my skills, rediscover my niche, and share everything I learn along this journey with others.



3 comments on “Returning to the Classroom Isn’t a Dimished Role

  1. Cheryl Orchard

    I completely agree! As I finish my second year back in the classroom following 4 years as a Math & Instructional Coach, I feel that I have learned so much more from being able to put into practice all of the learning I did as a coach. As you stated, I’ve been able to hone and build on my skills, while making a positive impact on my students and hopefully my colleagues too. I would highly recommend going back to the classroom following a system role.

  2. Corinne Santa

    Great blog, Dave. We need more leaders like you. If ever in the future I am fortunate enough to work with you, I feel I would learn a lot!

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