The most striking aspect of the KFP Summer Institute was the true embodiment of teacher leadership. The majority of sessions at the Institute were led by the Kenan Steering Committee, a collaborative group of practicing educators spanning the K-12 spectrum. The committee shared various tech tools and instructional practices. My favorites included GooseChase, Twitter Deck, and Project Based Learning Brainstorm Mapping.
The idea of a teacher leader carried over into our development as we networked with each other, both through sessions and informally at meals and Patio PD. I quickly learned about the incredible people who are a part of this program. EdCamp, or Unconference, might have been the most powerful session during my week. EdCamp involved Fellows submitting topics of interest and connecting with each other in small groups. Rather than a facilitator leading a structured workshop, the EdCamp sessions allowed for conversations in which Fellows could share their own experience and expertise.
I’d like to bring this EdCamp experience back to my school site by arranging a staff professional development with this model prior to the start of the school year. Through conversations with other educators, there seems to be a lack of differentiation in the PD we receive, both based on levels of experience and topic interest. I love the idea of using an EdCamp structure to create spaces for teachers to connect with each other based on their self identified needs and interests.
I think I found this emphasis on teacher leadership so important because it conveyed a high level of professionalism and trust for our work as educators. More importantly, I learned ways I can remain in the classroom while still growing as a leader.