“Will your program continue when you are no longer there?”
That was the question posed to the visitors during a visit to Jason Lee on their AVID Site Demo day in late October. To be honest, I can’t say “yes” to that question with probably anything that I lead/facilitate/participate in at school. It’s not that I’m the most spectacular person that there ever was. It’s just that I’ve never found a way to successfully delegate, give away, or otherwise let others in on what it is I do.
So, a call for help. As you grow as a teacher-leader, how have you allowed your creations to flourish in your absence; how have you made them sustainable?
The Must Haves as I see It
Leaders, not a Leader.
The more that multiple people are involved in a leadership capacity, the more likely that all the knowledge, troubleshooting and vision doesn’t rest with one person. In my experience, it’s difficult but of utmost importance to not have leader”S” in name only. I have been on both sides of this conundrum, the one who is leading it all with other leaders in name only, as well as one of the “in the name only” leaders knowing that another person sat as the true Leader.
“But, what if” Attitude
Nothing should ever be set in stone. Nothing. As a teacher-leader, it’s important to recognize the ways that we have ensconced ourselves into a set way of thinking. Imagine if you are an outsider to the discussion, how hard would it be to care or participate if it appeared that your ideas wouldn’t be considered? My newest way to incorporate voice into different groups that I am leading or participating in is the Carousal Brainstorm process from a recent AVID workshop. In addition, I try to use the “What else could it be?” routine to acknowledge an idea but not stop the discussion of different ideas from occurring.
Sell it to Each and Every Person
One of the hardest pieces to sustainability that I encounter in trying to implement a program and making sure that every person who works with the program can see a value in that program. How will this program impact me, my students, and my practice in a positive way? How will this program continue to exist after the next school year? These are hard questions, and you better have a plan of action if you hope to keep the program running past the day you are walking the halls of your school.