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Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Water Cooler Being a good Department Lead…

  • Being a good Department Lead…

    Posted by Jill Bemis on November 21, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    I have taught for 30 years and just last year, for the very first time I was given the opportunity to be the department lead. This is my second year and I am struggling. I want to be that great leader, but get frustrated when other teachers complain about how much work everything is and this and that. I need some suggestions.

    Kyle Pearce replied 1 year, 11 months ago 3 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Kyle Pearce

    November 22, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    Hi Jill.

    Congrats on the new position! Yay!

    As you’ve mentioned, it isn’t all roses and butterflies. It is a tough job, especially when you want to do a good job.

    The hardest part (for me) is trying to be a good listener when all I want to really say is “common, don’t be a complainer!”

    It is so hard, but I wonder if maybe checking out the book Coaching Habit would be worth a go for you. Both @jon and I are HUGE fans of the book and the strategies Michael Bungay Stanier suggests. Have a look and let us know what you think!

  • Jill Bemis

    December 4, 2020 at 12:09 am

    Thanks for title of book. I placed it on my wish list.

    • Kyle Pearce

      December 6, 2020 at 8:19 pm

      Let us know how things progress!

    • Laura Crowley

      March 31, 2021 at 6:22 pm

      Good luck and best wishes in a challenging position! A few thoughts:

      *is there any way to create Professional Learning Committees (or something less formal – I just call them “teaching teams” within the department? This can be a good way to get teachers working together in small groups.

      *there are a lot of good resources online for “protocols” to follow in some department meetings, which provide a structure for helping to prevent a few individuals from dominating the discussion. They seem cheesy at first, but my team bought it and it was helpful.

      *the best thing I ever did as department chair was convince our admin to pay for a day-long “retreat” (we went to a local hotel) and had a full day of conversation. It took a lot of time to plan and structure so that it was meaningful, but we got a lot out of it.

      All my best,


      • Kyle Pearce

        April 1, 2021 at 6:18 am

        These are great ideas! Are you able to do some of these small groups during the work day? Do you have job embedded pd time? This is important in my opinion to give educators the necessary time to build that learning community.

        Love the retreat idea! How fantastic is that!