3 Ways to Step into a Leadership Role in Your School Community

Leadership is not a quality limited to school administrators. A great leader is anyone who understands the importance of working on a team and respects the thoughts of others.

As art teachers, we have a unique position in our schools to lead and promote change. From our transformative practices to our teaching styles, we are ahead of the game. Being a leader in your school is beneficial not only to your peers but also to your students.

Here are 3 ways you can step up as a leader at your school.

1. Join a School Committee

Although school committees often look to art teachers to create posters or design flyers, we have so much more to offer!

Sharing your ideas and knowledge could prove transformative to the way your school works. Don’t limit yourself by thinking, “This does not pertain to me.” Take a chance and join a committee that interests you where you feel your ideas could make a positive change. Don’t be afraid to ask to join something you feel passionate about!

Personally, I had been tasked with being on the Sunshine Committee, which was in charge of planning fun events for the school. While I enjoyed it, I felt I could be an asset to other academic committees as well. So, I went ahead and asked to join the technology committee. There, I had the chance to be a part of introducing new technology to our school staff.

From leadership and scheduling to the science fair and school improvement, there are so many committees available to you. Think about your interests and strengths, and ask for a seat at the table!

leader

2. Partner with the PTA

Have you ever thought of attending your school’s PTA meetings? Community stakeholders include the parents, so why not give it a try? Building relationships will not only be helpful for your school, but for your art program as well. You’ll be in the know about the programs and events happening in your school.

Think about the impact it might have on fundraising. We all know the PTA often likes to include us in a variety of fundraisers. As a PTA member, you may have more say about which fundraiser you help with or how a fundraiser is executed. You’ll be in a lot better position to work out a deal beneficial to your school and your art program.

In my own experience, I helped with a keepsake fundraiser in which all of the proceeds went to the school. While I liked helping the school, I realized I might be able to directly benefit the art program.

fundraiser

As I became more involved with the PTA and built relationships with the board, I decided to ask if a portion of the proceeds could go directly to the art room. After all, that’s where the artwork was being made! We agreed and some of the proceeds went to the school and some to the art room. I couldn’t have been more pleased. This is just one example of how building relationships can influence your program.

3. Lead a Sharing Session

Learning often occurs through sharing and collaboration. A great way to foster this type of learning would be to set up a sharing session with some like-minded colleagues. It could be once a month or every couple of weeks. The group can talk about project-based learning, student-inquiry strategies, classroom management, technology integration, and other topics of interest. There are a variety of ways you could choose to share.

You might consider:

  • An in-person meeting
    Grab a conference room or rotate classrooms among group members. Or, if you’re spread out, try a Google Hangout or use a platform like appear.in.
  • A virtual meeting
    If you can’t all meet at the same time, there are other ways to collaborate. Try Padlet, Flipgrid, or even a simple Google Doc to share ideas.
    virtual meeting
  • A staff meeting
    Staff meetings are ideal sharing times because everyone is gathered anyway. Designate the first or last five minutes of the meeting for sharing new or exciting information. Design a sign-up sheet and encourage your staff members to participate. Don’t forget to collaborate with your principal to get permission.
  • Twitter chats
    Work with your school principal to decide a day and time for your school to chat on Twitter. This can easily be done with a hashtag specific to your school. Pick a topic to keep everyone on task and get chatting!

No matter what avenue you take, step up as a leader in your school to promote change. It is well worth your time.

How have you stepped up as a leader in your school community to promote change?

What other ways do you feel art teachers can be leaders on their campus?

Wynita Harmon is an elementary art teacher in Plano, TX. She enjoys providing authentic learning experiences for her students that promote innovation and critical thinking skills.

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  • Amanda Stine

    I really like the notion of stepping up to be a leader through your three suggestions of: sitting in on a committee, getting involved with the PTA, and setting up a share session. Last school year, I sat in on the Comprehensive Planning Committee of my school district, involved in designing and choose our three improvement goals for the next five years. I liked having my voice heard, but I’d like to be involved with something a bit more related to art education. We lost our budget last year for our district-wide art show ($500), and we had to communicate with the building PTOs to try and get some funds. We got a small amount, but not enough to cover. Thank goodness, our one high school teacher had extra money left in his budget from the previous year. This year, I plan is to the contact the PTOs to have each one contribute $50 which will provide us the needed $500 dollars to successfully implement our annual district art show. I love the share session idea, and I think I will try to implement this idea for the upcoming school year. The art teachers of my district are very spread out around the area, thus; we could meet face to face to share student samples and teaching stories, or collectively create a social media account like a Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat that we all contribute to with student artwork.