What skills should a department chair or team leader have?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 6, 2013

    I've recently been given my department's chair/instructional coach position. This position is really important to me and I want to do a good job. Does anyone have any advice, ideas, tips, warnings, anything that might help me be a better DC/IC?

    In the interest of full disclosure, my department has got its share of problems. To name a few:
    • Inexperienced teachers with classroom management problems
    • Burnt-out, honey-badger-esque teachers
    • Teachers who are good in the classroom but bad at working with others and have stepped on a lot of important toes in the main office
     
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  3. Math

    Math Cohort

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    Wait, so you are officially a Department Chairperson?
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Yes. Just found out today!
     
  5. Math

    Math Cohort

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    I believe one should just be very understanding and great with communication. A person who does not have a bunch of mood swings. I know the one Math Department Chairperson I have this year is very understanding with her department. I have even asked another Math Teacher about how good of a leader she is and she told me how well of a department chair she is. So, I think as long as you communication skills, you are understandable, and patient. Then, I believe you are fine.
     
  6. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    In no particular order:
    • clear, yet tactful communication methods
    • organizational skills
    • ability to lead without others realizing they are being led
    • documentation skills
     
  7. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Here are 8 that I feel that are important.

    #1: An excellent listener
    #2: Someone who is positive and finds the best in teachers
    #3: A strong leader
    #4: Someone who is calm and doesn't lose control at a meeting
    #5: Someone who communicates well
    #6: Someone who is patient
    #7: Someone who can be concise and not waste a lot of teacher's time.
    #8: Someone who is punctual.
     
  8. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Oh, and someone who is willing to learn new skills themselves
     
  9. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Yeah, can you not be an air head? I don't gather that you are, however my last school had team leaders and mine dropped the ball on EVERYTHING. She forgot every promise she ever made, and when she made a mistake she threw everyone else under the bus to cover herself. Complete idiot.

    So yeahhh, that. Also, be a good listener. Be clear with expectations. And motivate others to collaborate as a team.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    :lol:

    I'll do my best.

    The other suggestions are really good, but they're also making me very nervous. That's a tall order.
     
  11. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    Ok. I've just finished my 6th year as a science coordinator. Part of my responsibilities included the direct supervision of 12 content specialists and the coordination of 28 instructional coaches.

    Just a few tidbits, take what makes sense, ignore the rest.

    Clear communication is key. Document by using email. Teachers are overwhelmed with information. Send gentle reminders before something is due, needs action, and so on.

    Prepare ahead of time before you have to have a difficult conversation. Maybe check out different conversation protocols.

    Define your role as a coach. Does your school/district have a job description? We have an actual handbook for ours. I can email it to you if you like.

    Read up on instructional coaching. Jim Knight and Steve Barkley are the acknowledged gurus.

    Be open to and solicit feedback. Store your ego somewhere.

    Stay organized.

    Always give teachers a voice. You may have to over-ride what they want, but hear them.

    Explain rationales as much as possible; give them the big picture. Too often educators are told to do something without understanding why.

    Have a vision. How do you see the dept at the end of next year? The end of two years under your leadership? Think it through carefully so that you know what you want, then communicate it to your team. Clearly and often.
     
  12. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    As a new teacher, I have REALLY appreciated my lead teachers this year (our grade level has 2 - huge school). They have anticipated problems and questions I would have and met with me/emailed me about them before I even had a chance to freak out about things. They have taken time out of their own busy schedules to sit with me and go through things or talk about things - all voluntarily. (A lot of the "things" have been paperwork!! lol.) They're both very warm and approachable, and they are willing to take on tasks themselves to make things easier for us.

    Congratulations, by the way! :)
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Thank you! These are very concrete and helpful!
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Thanks!

    I remember my own DC back when I was a new teacher did many of these things you've listed here. Good advice!
     
  15. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    I definitely agree with the above advice. As the curriculum/instructional coordinator for my department, I have to be super organized, because I often have several things scheduled on a given day. I observe classes as much as possible--even if it's only for a few minutes at a time--and always follow up with immediate feedback. I always try to include both commendations and recommendations in every evaluation I do. Communication is definitely very important. People feel comfortable talking to me because we have worked together for so long. I try to email links to articles that include "best practices" in our content area every week or two, and often follow-up at department meetings. Also, I still teach one class, so I "practice what I preach." I think that's very important. Hope these help! I'm sure I'll think of more!
     
  16. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Honey badger-esque teachers. Love it!

    Congrats on the new position, Caesar! I'm glad you started this thread because I will be serving as my grade level team leader for this upcoming school year. Lots of good advice in here!
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Congrats to you as well! We can work things out together.
     

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