Supporting Teacher Leadership in NYC through TIF

>>Teacher are some of the smartest and most innovative
and creative people I know, that oftentimes the way that our profession
is structured is one that limits
some of our best qualities.>>We applied for the Teacher Incentive Fund as a way to really grow
out opportunities for teachers.>>It was really just
an opportunity to say, how do we come together
as an education community to support the leadership and the leadership development
of teachers in New York City?>>The Teacher Incentive
Fund grant has been very impactful for the New York City
Department of Education. We are one of the few grantees in the country that did exclusive
teacher leadership, so we have really
used all of the TIF for our resources
to build out our career ladder, and really offer increased
pay for teachers in exchange for increased
responsibilities in schools. So through the Teacher Incentive Fund grant we have piloted
two teacher leadership roles; one is called the “peer
collaborative teacher,” and one is called
the “model teacher.” The model teacher really is, the responsibility is to set up
a lab classroom for their colleagues where they can
come into the room and really see best practices.>>So I think model teacher
has been fun for me, in that you don’t know
where you need to grow and get better, until you’re in the process of doing. It’s forced me to be creative.>>The other role is
a peer collaborative teacher, and they actually
have release time. And they are charged, in addition
to having a lab classroom, also with going into
other teachers’ classrooms, taking little inference notes,
giving feedback on practice, and really working one-on-one
with teachers in their school
to improve their practice.>>My job is really to be
a critical-thinking and listening partner
to all members of the community. I can do anything
to support any teacher, from going into their classroom, taking notes, making observations, debriefing with them, coming in and playing
the role of a student, looking at student work with them, facilitating or supporting a teacher
in terms of facilitating a meeting.>>And it really requires
you to dig deep and think in new and different ways.>>Sort of a peer collaboration. So I’m learning from them,
they’re learning from me. I’m certainly no “expert,”
quote-unquote, I’m just someone who’s trying
to help on their level and do it in a way that we can
find the answer in the classroom.>>We’re really proud of the partnership that we have with the local union, the United Federation of Teachers. We’ve really worked
collaboratively from day one to establish
these new roles for teachers, which represent so much new opportunity in the teacher profession.>>And excitingly, we’re able to get
those roles in the contract, so have this really amazing
sustainability of the work that was started through the TIF grant.>>It’s been a huge vehicle for change. And it really created a space
for teachers to advance their ideas, to get support,
receive critical feedback so that they could really think about how to actualize their plans within their school community.>>And so when a teacher
came to me saying, “I’d like to improve
the conversations in my room,” I had to think about how to improve the
conversations in my own classroom first. So I went to observe another teacher, and saw how they had
given assigned roles to each of their students; you know, partner one, partner two. That was radically different
from anything I had done. So when I started
implementing it in my room and seeing some success and growth, I invited the teacher
in to see that. That’s something
I’ve continued up until now. And the conversations in my room
have gone through the roof.>>I think I woke up
curiosity in my students because I was trying to stretch myself
so hard, they watched me. So they were open.>>And we want to do
what’s best for our kids. And we want to recruit
the next generation of teachers. And we want to sustain
and build the teachers that we have. We need to create opportunities
for teachers to lead and have support
to do that, can be really powerful for students.

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