Step aside, Mr. Principal!

Pay your lead teachers, in release periods, to work with the staff as coaches and mentors on a daily basis. NOT AN ADMINISTRATIVE POSITION!

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We have experts already on school campuses. While principals can do a great job of managing programs and personnel, they may fall short when it comes to teacher support; they are not the experts. Teachers are the experts. While it costs money to give release periods, it can pay dividends in the classroom. Give lead teachers a 20% release period to work with their peers on a daily basis to provide support, insight, coordination of curriculum, lesson design, etc. Maybe a 20% release period for every 5 teachers on staff. NOT a full position! The lead teachers must teach 60-80%, lest they forget what it likes to be a part of the rigid daily structure.

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Photo of Charles Shryock, IV
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Should this kind of release be reserved only for more veteran teachers? I wonder if there would be benefits to giving newer teachers the same opportunity to explore and support what's happening in other classrooms. 

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Charles,
I want to make a distinction between exploration and support, that you mention in your comment. Yes, newer teachers should be able to explore the work of other teachers. I describe that somewhat in my earlier posts that we should have teachers share classrooms and even team teach, especially regarding newer teachers. But as far as supporting other teachers: I think there can be a discomfort on the part of older teachers if a young upstart with 5 or fewer years of teaching experience makes comments or suggestions to that veteran teacher. I don't care how good they are, it's hard to take advice from someone who could be 20 years your junior. And, I do have my doubts about the knowledge of a new teacher, even with extensive training. Let's let them get their feet wet and earn earn their badges before formally supporting others. Informally their can support their colleagues as much as they want. But in a paid, public position, I think we can find veteran teachers who are respected by school faculty to fill the position that I am envisioning.

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