The Lead Teacher Effect: Reaching Beyond Their Own Classrooms

February 16, 2016

By Brittney Oswald  — Photo credits: Mara Duquette/Center for Inspired Teaching

It’s a great feeling to know that the Inspired Teacher Certification Program is making an important and necessary difference in the lives of children. But what happens when we try to figure out just how far we’ve reached — or could reach?

Throughout the school year, the Inspired Teacher Certification Program staff engages lead teachers in professional development and Inspired reflection. Lead teachers come together to explore ways to demonstrate Inspired Teaching’s instructional model – the 4 I’s® and the 5 Core Elements – for their Fellows. This year, we have a good number of returning lead teachers who have been in the classroom with Fellows from past cohorts and who continue to provide excellent support and feedback. We also have passionate new leads who have been eager to guide their Fellows through Inspired Teaching methods.

Inspired Teaching lead teachers play an integral role in preparing Fellows to become changemakers in DC schools and beyond; however, their influence extends even further – to the students their Fellows go on to teach.

At our most recent professional development meeting, we asked our returning leads:

  • How many years have you been an Inspired lead teacher?
  • How many Fellows have you worked with?
  • How many years has each Fellow taught after being in your classroom?
  • How many students has each Fellow taught each year?

After giving the leads Cheerios and pipe cleaners, with each Cheerio representing five students, this instruction came next: “Make a visual model to represent your current influence.”

cheerio-lead-teacher-impactThe combined total, pictured here as interconnected Cheerio artwork, was 1,080 students to date. That’s 1,080 students with an Inspired Teacher, experiencing inquiry-based instruction and knowing that there’s Mutual Respect in their classrooms.

What, then, would it look like if our returning and new leads stayed with Inspired Teaching and continued to influence Fellows and their future students for five more years?

lead-teacher-impact-5That’s 12,000 students reached in five years who are feeling Joy with their classmates and benefiting from their role as Student as Expert. What about after 10 years?

cheerios-lead-teacher-impact-10That’s 36,717 students.

Jessica Hiltabidel, Inspired Teaching’s Senior Manager of Teaching and Learning, then explained to the participants: “Take a look around the room. This is a physical representation of what we mean when we tell Fellows that they are joining a movement; that they are changemakers.”

How do we ensure that the movement keeps moving and the Cheerios web continues to grow? Who better to ask than the lead teachers who spend every day in the classroom with Inspired Teaching Fellows? Thanks to their feedback, many ideas were generated to ensure that the program selects Fellows who will become life-long educators and who will commit to transforming education and influencing the students who are at the center of all we do. The Inspired Teacher Certification Program is committed to growing exponentially to ensure that every student has an Inspired Teacher.


The Inspired Teacher Certification Program is now accepting applications to join the 2016 cohort. Learn more and apply today

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