We all know that working with others helps them but we can sometimes forget that it also develops us. It is definitely a quid pro quo relationship and one that not only improves others but empowers us. We do this is so many ways. We chat to colleagues in busy staffrooms about lessons that we love teaching, we share resources on networks so that others can save time and try other approaches, we mentor new teachers, coach others or lead teams of people in our subject specialism and across the school. We join subject communities online and engage in debate with others passionate about our areas of expertise. It sustains us. In becoming specialists in our subjects and areas, we continue to reach out, learn and apply what we find to our teaching. We got into teaching because we love what we have knowledge of, we want to share it with the children we see each day and enthuse them as we were once enthused. We want to empower others with the rich knowledge that empowers us.
Our impact widens when we collaborate. We review, we refine, we re-engage with evidence and the debate. We analyse what we do that is successful. We don’t aim to replicate in others what we ourselves do: we know that path removes agency from the people we are supporting and provides only a short term, superficial fix. But, through mentoring, coaching, collaborating, we build agency in those with whom we work. We build confidence and we challenge. Through working together, we explore situations, co-build new knowledge and leave having moved others on to greater things – one of which must be improved outcomes for the pupils that we teach.
Being an SLE allows us to take what we love and share with others. We can use our expert knowledge and practice to shift mindsets, improve practice and develop those at the forefront of improving the life chances of children. The depth and breadth of our impact is increased and the experiences of the children in our schools becomes richer. That is the goal. And, as an SLE, you have the chance to share in this.