The Teacher's Role in Developing the Total School Program

Instructor: Michael Quist

Michael has taught college-level mathematics and sociology; high school math, history, science, and speech/drama; and has a doctorate in education.

As a teacher, you bring curriculum plans and objectives to life for your students. In this lesson, we will explore your role in developing powerful and comprehensive instructional programs that incorporate school-wide objectives and the statewide curriculum.

What is the Total School Program?

As a teacher, it is easy to become focused on your topic, immersed in the details of your particular area of passion. If you're a science teacher, then you may love the bugs. If you're a math teacher, you might enjoy equations or geometric figures. But you should never lose sight of your role in the total school program.

The total school program means the 'big picture', in terms of your instructional efforts, and includes the school-wide objectives, as well as the statewide curriculum that affects your school or university. It refers to the entire combination of activities, facilities, and people that impact the overall product of your institution: educated students.

The Teacher's Role

As a teacher, your role in the big picture is both varied and critical. You wear many hats, and you are the primary school leader for your students. You:

  • Have resources to share, both with students and other teachers
  • Have teaching experience to offer, in the classroom and in the meeting room
  • Have curriculum development experience to offer
  • Can support the personal and professional development of students and other teachers
  • Can act as a mentor for students and newer teachers
  • Can act as a leader in a variety of roles
  • Can provide direction in the use of information for effective planning
  • Can be the reason things change
  • Can be the servant-leader example, and the consummate learner

School-wide Objectives

As a teacher, you're the expert on what works for your students. You provide useful feedback to help develop curriculum, establish effective environments, and monitor student success. Working with the other teachers, you are in the critical position of consultant, engineer, and designer. You help define school-wide learning objectives, and you also are the one to initially ensure that your own programs fulfill their part in meeting those objectives.

As you consider your school's objectives and the state's requirements, you are the one who can say what will work, and what won't. You need to visualize the ways that programs can be combined, interleaved, or interconnected. For example, when management proposes mixing English comprehension with algebra instruction, you're the one who will have to picture how that mix would work. As you integrate your instructional development efforts with those of your fellow teachers, your teamwork can produce an effective program that addresses the needs of the school and requirements of government agencies.

Whether you represent a grade level or a subject, your expertise is one of the pillars of the developed curriculum for your school. Whether your area is math, art, physical education, or basket-weaving, you are the guardian of your sector. You are the single most important person in ensuring that proposed curriculum and classroom changes make sense for your area and meet school and state requirements.

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