AfterClass

If you’ve been looking for a way to take your practice deeper and in community with other teacher leaders, the Arizona TeacherSolutions Team may be the opportunity for you.

Mar 17, 2022

Does this sound familiar? You’ve been teaching for several years and feel confident working with your students and teaching your content, but you’re wondering what might be next. You want to stay in the classroom but are curious what other ways you might encourage other teachers or lead within your school. Does this speak to you? The Arizona TeachersSolutions® Team may be the opportunity you need to embrace your inner teacher leader.

The Arizona teachers that make up “TST” are excited to invest in themselves and each other. The Arizona TeacherSolutions Team is a three-year commitment and includes monthly meetings, book studies, engagement in social media, planning and leading a breakout session at the annual Teacher Leadership Institute, and using the Center’s Professional Learning Plan to create and work toward a teacher leader development goal through the school year that is then included in the annual Teacher Leadership Report. In recent years, they have together explored inquiry, social-emotional learning, and addressing inequities in opportunities and outcomes.

“TST is here to augment the reality that leadership positions only live outside of the classroom by supporting teachers through a goal-setting process rooted in ongoing professional learning,” says Paula Watkins, Arizona K12 Center Professional Learning Director who facilitates the group.

“I want this team to be a diverse group who may not consider themselves to be leaders within their schools or communities but are doing the difficult work of not only impacting their students, but other students as well, by supporting other teachers,” she says. “These are the unsung heroes of education.”

Kareem Neal, Phoenix Union High School District special education teacher and 2019 Arizona Teacher of the Year, speaks highly of his three years on the Arizona TeacherSolutions. He especially credits TST with helping him develop his teacher voice and being able to better tell his story, share his perspective, and lead presentations, which he needed to do often as Teacher of the Year.

“I became a better presenter because of the TeacherSolutions Team; I gained confidence in speaking to large groups of people because of the TeacherSolutions Team,” he says. “You grow this network of the most fantastic and dedicated educators who are all rooting for you and trying to help uplift you in your educational journey.”

The Arizona K12 Center is currently accepting applications to join the next cycle of the Arizona TeacherSolutions Team. You can find more details about TST on the Arizona K12 Center website and apply here. Applications must be submitted by April 22, 2022.

Watkins notes how “the work, passion, and vision of the current TST is invigorating” and she looks forward to continuing that work and welcoming new members “who are excited to discover new opportunities for students by diving into complex problems that Arizona schools are currently facing.”

“I encourage all teachers to apply, especially those who have yet to realize their leadership potential, as this is an experience rooted in growth and development to amplify the work they are doing in their classrooms to ensure student success.

Learn more about the Arizona TeachersSolutions Team on the Arizona K12 Center website and contact Paula Watkins at pwatkins@azk12.org with any questions.

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