In May 2014, Educational Leadership published an article called The Trouble with Top Down by Rebecca Van Tassell, a Knowles Senior Fellow. The article, which emerged from the work Van Tassell did with her Knowles inquiry group, explores the impact administration can have on the dynamics of teacher collaboration.
For several years now, Knowles Teaching Fellows have read Van Tassell’s article as part of their learning about teacher leadership and teacher storytelling. While the story is a resonant example of teacher leadership, and one that Fellows have found useful and interesting, an unanticipated consequence was the construction of barriers to writing for Fellows. Presenting a highly polished, published piece of work set up a seemingly unattainable standard for what teacher leadership through writing could be.
In this episode of Teacher Voice, host Brittany Franckowiak (@franckoWLHS) asks Rick Barlow and Angela Lou, Knowles Senior Fellows and Kaleidoscope Associate Editors, to share their impressions of reading the piece as early-career teachers. She then asks Van Tassell, now a Kaleidoscope Editor-in-Chief, to reflect on the process of transforming a challenging teaching experience into a published piece of learning useful for other teachers. Van Tassell highlights the importance of iteration and the necessity of supportive critical friends throughout her writing process. Listen to the podcast to hear reflections on how the process of writing for others generates profound learning for the author, and explore other unseen work that is part of the writing process.
There’s definitely that feeling of those people—those are the rock stars. Me? I’m just going to try to survive.”
To hear more about the process behind teacher storytelling, listen to Teacher Voice: The Podcast.