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Four Ways to Position Yourself as a School Leader in the New Year

Being a teacher requires both the knowledge and the confidence to help others learn something that is unfamiliar to them. Teaching is naturally interconnected with leadership; teachers lead their students every day, not only in academic practice through lessons and activities, but also through their actions and behaviors. Students are like sponges and learn best from positive, consistent examples.

As we are now halfway through the 2021–22 school year, many teachers are looking for ways to break out of their current routines and challenge themselves personally and professionally. It can seem a bit daunting at first to go beyond your classroom to lead at the larger school level. However, it can also be fulfilling for teachers, as they are all capable of excelling in different types of leadership roles. Read on to discover four ideas for how you can position yourself as a leader in your school this new year.

1. Get involved in extracurricular activities.

Choose something you already enjoy or have expertise in and find ways to grow that interest in the student body at your school, too. Whether it’s a physical activity such as a sport or dance, or a creative pursuit like photography or playing an instrument, get involved in an established club or talk to your school administration about creating one yourself. This is a great way to reach students outside of your classroom and grade level and connect with them on a deeper level through common interests.

2. Start culture-sharing initiatives.

As an Ambassador Teacher, you have the unique perspective of growing up in your home country and your native culture to share not only with your classroom but with your whole school community. Lead by example by starting an annual traditional food night or a cultural display in your school. By acting as the point person for this initiative, you’re showing other people how they can explore their own cultures more and how they can proudly share them with the people they see every day. This is also a great learning experience for anyone at your school who wants to look beyond the classroom to open their world.

3. Collaborate with other teachers.

With the school year in full swing, we can sometimes get stuck in our routines, and it can be hard to reach out to colleagues whom you might not see regularly. Find ways to connect with other staff members in your school, whether it’s asking a group to get coffee after a staff meeting or by joining outings like monthly book clubs. When you feel supported and seen by your whole school community, you will feel more confident in your leadership abilities. Plus, as your relationships develop with your coworkers, you can begin to discuss topics that are meaningful to you, like ways to improve your teaching practices or sharing pieces of your personal life.

4. Begin a community impact project.

When it comes to community service, there are always ways to get involved and inspire others around you to do the same. Are you passionate about access to clean outdoor spaces? Set up a schoolwide trash pickup day in a local neighborhood. Do you have a soft spot for the elderly community? Assign interested student buddies at the local retirement center who can write to each other. Identifying an area of need and taking action can help position you as a leader within your school and greater community.

Happy New Year from Participate Learning! For more ideas on how you can challenge yourself and improve your teaching practices in 2022, check out these resources and this blog post on reflection and goal setting. How are you and your students starting the new year on the right foot? Share with us on Twitter by tagging us @ParticipateLrng or by using the hashtag #unitingourworld.

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