By Steven Herder
The iTDi Principles
Anything I can do, we can do better:
Whatever the problem, community is the answer.
- Every teacher matters
- We can always become better teachers
- We learn better together
- Every teacher deserves access to professional development
- We are all learners
- We can all be leaders
- Community works
- Education leads to change
- Education matters
- Together, we can change the future
The International Teacher Development Institute is a unique and shining example of the new leadership paradigm. For years, people have struggled to clearly understand, define and teach leadership, but as the field of leadership studies grows and takes a larger role in business and education, iTDi is at the cutting edge of online teacher education. The new leadership paradigm asserts, “Leadership is a relational, ethical process of people coming together to attempt to create positive change” (Komives, 2009). iTDi exemplifies the most current trends in leadership, including collaboration, community, and the empowerment of all. These days, smart teachers around the world are leaping into online opportunities like iTDi, and right now, we invite you to consider joining our shared mission as well.
In 2010, iTDi was an idea so strong that it brought a core group of educators together to launch the International Teacher Development Institute in the summer of 2012. An inner circle of Associates and Mentors from around the globe quickly joined us, seeing our vision and wanting to contribute. Over the next couple of years, over 5000 teachers in over 100 countries have demonstrated their commitment to iTDi by joining our community, taking online lessons, participating in iTDi Global Webinars and our popular Summer Intensives.
This kind of synergy didn’t just happen by chance. In our very busy world, we all have too many demands on our time, and precious little extra time to invest in joining new groups or associations. We are now forced to make decisions based on “What’s in it for me?” or “Am I going to get as much out of this investment as I am going to put into it?”
Therefore, in this blog post, I would like to invite you to consider the 6th iTDi Principle: We can all be leaders. However, I would like to ask you to not only consider it, but also to recognize the implications that it can hold for you and your future as an ELT educator. I would like you to experience it clearly enough that it moves you to take action and to make the decision to treat yourself as an iTDi equal, a colleague, a collaborator… a leader.
Joining us as an equal can possibly change your life. Now, you may ask, “But how are we equals? How can I talk with some of the high profile authors, leaders and teacher-trainers that lead iTDi or any other teacher communities out there?” The simple answer is that we all share one simple trait that bonds us together. This leadership trait is an earnest commitment to improve our students, our classes, our communities, and ourselves. If you also carry this trait, then we are already friends and colleagues – we simply haven’t had the opportunity to realize it yet. If you care to make yourself better, to teach better, to communicate better, then you are already a leader. You may not have recognized it yet, but you are just the same as all of us in iTDi.
The first step in becoming a leader is to decide to take on the challenges of leadership. Often, that simply means making the initial decision to become the best teacher that you can be. Once you make that decision, you are ready to pursue professional development. For those of you who lack confidence using English, there are many online opportunities to develop professionally. But the good news is that we have a great course designed just for you. The iTDi English for TESOL / TEFL Teachers Language Development Program is the only online language development course for teachers that we have been able to find online. It is not only practical and affordable; it is led by some of the most qualified tutors available online. Alternatively, if you lack confidence or experience with classroom teaching skills, then you should register for The iTDi TESOL / TEFL Teacher Skills Certification Program. These are valuable first steps that can boost your confidence and your skills. We have seen such growth over and over again with teachers from literally every corner of the planet. If you have the spirit of teacher leadership, there is nothing stopping you. In fact, not even money.
At iTDi, we don’t accept the lack of financial means as being a barrier to professional development. We offer partial and full scholarships to many of our programs, and we have an iTDi patron program for those with financial means who want to sponsor teachers with less financial means. As you can see, there is very little stopping you from making today the first day of the rest of your teaching career – as a teacher leader, as a colleague, and as an equal member of iTDi.
Please think about this. We look forward to hearing from you.
Komives, S. R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T. R. (2009). Exploring leadership: For college students who want to make a difference. John Wiley & Sons.