Yeah But…..

6 Nov

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Who is the person on your staff you can predict will say, “Yeah But?” We can all picture that person. When the principal says, “We are going to implement a new system to support our gifted students” this teacher responds on que, “Yeah But!” When the assistant principal says “I would like to send you to a national conference for social studies teachers” – the teacher replies, “Yeah But…..I am having a guest speaker that week.” As a member of the SLT I get frustrated with the “Yeah But” response. However, there are teacher who respond, “Yeah But!” and have added value  with “I believe we could support more students if we…….”
A teacher who challenges the process and forces everyone in the organization to think is serving as a teacher leader. One of the most popular leadership books over the past 25 years is a book titled, The Leadership Challenge (1987). Kouzes and Posner (1997) wrote that leaders Challenge the Process. A teacher who challenges the process, may provide valuable input for school improvement or implementing school programmes.
Schelchty (1993) wrote an article on teacher leadership titled and noted  “Staff known as settlers need to know what is expected of them and where they are going” (Schlechty, 1993). Who are the Settlers on your staff? A settler could be a strong teacher leader, but they may resist until the details of the program are clear and they feel confident that this will not become the “Flavor-of-the Month” initiative. You  can identify the settlers on staff and seek out their input prior to making an announcement about a new program or goal. With the input of a settler, the principal can have a deeper understanding of what reservations staff members have and can develop FAQs, offer additional information, or adjust the implementation timeline.
Many principals view the person who asks questions as a challenging teacher leader and may not value the challenges as much as the teacher who is willing to say yes and move forward with any project or school improvement goal. Indeed these people can effect change more than you think.
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