I just read this article in Edutopia and reminded me of how important I think it is to be connected to the classroom. Ever since I became an administrator in 2006, teaching has been one of the most important parts of my work. It seems like such an obvious choice. You spend a lot of time discussing what goes on in the classroom, suggesting ways for teachers to improve and for students to learn more. How is that possible if you are not in the classroom yourself? But then many will argue the opposite. That a leader knows what needs to be done and can lead the teachers in their work regardless. Watch Viviene Robinson on the #Educational Leadership: How does it make a Difference to Student Outcomes?”
Another issue here is, of course, when school administrators visit the classrooms to observe students learning and teachers teaching. You can choose to call in walkthroughs or observations. I have written about it here; Walkthroughs And Observations: There Is A Difference. Is there a difference if the person doing this is connected to the classroom? I think there is.
One of the points in the article I read was that you should never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t be willing to do. I agree that it is an important point. Something else I agree with is this; Administrators who share their teaching expertise while being open about their struggles create powerful opportunities for reflection. Everyone who has taught knows that teaching 30 students with different needs and expectations is not an easy task and that every now and then you are likely to struggle. It is better to be open about that, it creates a much more honest approach and gives you a lot more leverage.
Many argue that it is difficult for administrators to teach, there are too many other tasks that matter more. I know that to be true sometimes, and actually, I will have to stop teaching next semester because of my commitment to the University of Oslo this year. It is the first time since I started as an administrator at Sandvika high school in 2006, that I will not be teaching. I will certainly miss my students a lot (this year I have a great class) and I look forward to teaching again. I know I will miss teaching.