Not all teachers stay in classroom; moving into leadership and or consultancy is a path for many. Fewer teachers consult and still teach, like me. The demands of marking, planning and managing the inner-lives of growing people leaves less time to consult.
This makes the dynamic between the teacher and consultant difficult because the consultant is rarely an expert in what a teacher needs. I need my students to pass iGCSE and IB exams, as well develop more profound skills. If a consultant is not doing the same, or aware of the same, already there is a schism.
A consultant also needs to be aware of the need for situated craft. Vague truisms sound impressive, but precise elements of teaching are most useful.
The Importance of Practice
A teaching consultant ideally needs to be dealing with the daily struggles of inspiring others to think. If the routines of marking, planning, reflecting are not in place, then things fall apart.
If a consultant can prove they have developed apt routines that allow them efficiency in what corners they need to cut the most, then they are more likely to gain the trust of teachers. If a consultant proved they can influence others to pick up these routines, then they can gain trust.
This ability to prove that their practice has influenced others is gold. A consultant who theorises how their ideas might influence a class will not gain the trust of an educated and critical professional.
Acknowledging and Thanking Teachers
Finally, I have worked with many consultants in my decades of teaching. Some have high emotional intelligence and thank teachers for sharing their work.
This can be done through recognition programs and individualized feedback.
By showing appreciation for teachers’ hard work, this helps build a positive relationship between the teaching consultant and the teachers they work with. More importantly, it gives the non-teaching consultants actual material that might prove what they do.
In an increasingly neo-liberal world where people invest huge sums in life-coaches, those who work at the chalk face have credibility amongst students and peers that cannot be matched by consultants who do not teach.