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 three 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 and 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!
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.
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.
Here are some ways you can choose to share:
- In-person Meeting
Grab a conference room or rotate classrooms among group members. Or, if you’re spread out, try a Google Hangout.
- 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.
- 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?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.