Educators today are very busy. There is little time to prep, teach, and learn within our school day. With this time constraint, comes tricks to make life easier. Independent learning modules, digital communication methods, and job titles prescribing your skill. All of these are great ideas, but can inadvertently cause issues for both parties. In this post, I hope to open your eyes to how titles can hurt the learning that can occur in schools.

Title Justification
As mentioned above, teachers do not have a lot of free time in the day. The schedules are full, and the curriculum is vigorous. These shortcuts were designed for them, and to make their life easier. It aimed to streamline who they communicate with to help save time and frustration. These are certainly great reasons to have titles such as "curriculum specialist", "tech integrationist", "innovation coach". It makes finding the right person easy, but it comes with a price!

Why Get Rid of Them!
Teachers say things like this during meetings with me: "well, you are the tech guy", or "I don't want to ask you that because it is not about technology." I have been a specialist for 2 years, and have found these moments the be the most frustrating moments of my career. Yes, I have more knowledge about technology that most other fields, but I am not a silo of information. Specialists were appointed to their positions because they are great teachers with passions, or specific skills. If you have specialists who are anything but, I would ask you why you hired them! 

Secondly, is the push to model systems thinking. We all want teachers to move away from silo teaching. From the "this is math time" method and to the "system" model. By limiting the skills of your specialists to their titles, you are enforcing the charge that one person can only be good at one thing, and therefor cannot teach outside of their content! By pigeon holing your leaders, you are encouraging teachers to pigeon hole their teaching.

What to Expect
I would encourage anyone, from teachers to leaders, to strongly consider this charge. It will cause angst within your teachers right away. They will be unsure of who to reach out to, or who to ask questions to. Support your specialists by encouraging them to meet face to face with staff as much as possible to build that rapport and the spark the communication initiative. Aid your specialists to be in constant communication with each other so they are able to field all manner of questions no matter their passion areas. Create a cohesive team that aims at removing the silos in education from the top down!

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