The other day a third grade teacher made a book recommendation, Beth Ferry’s Stick and Stone Thank you Sue!
It was exciting to talk books with colleagues and of course it was swiftly added to a growing collection of mentor texts. There was one page in the book that stood out – Stone was rolling a path and stick was following. That image was powerful and instantly communicated leadership and caring and that got us thinking…Who are the leaders that inspire others to follow? Leaders have to lead by example. They are authentic and have real convictions that are rooted in collective values. Values are strung together to create a vision. The vision is informed through content that is informed by current research. Leaders who affect change are working alongside their faculties – they create relationships that are built on connectedness. “We are all in this together” is the mantra and we are working to put students at the center of all that we do. If we are putting students at the center, then it is understood that all important work rests on consistency and is supported through an organized way of thinking that one initiative rolls into the next. Every great leader knows there will be bumps in the road, and so flexibility is another watchword that leaders keep sacred. It is no small endeavor to lead… Here is the important part – leadership is not solely the responsibility of our administrators. We are teachers – real teachers LEAD. We lead when we:
- Peer coach with colleagues
- Present at national conferences (like NCTE 2015 this November “Making Powerful Connections Across the Twitterverse Using Social Media to Become Agents of Change” Hope to see you there!)
- Attend outside professional development (like this Saturday! Teacher’s College Saturday Reunion Hope to see you there!)
- Blogging & Reading Blogs (Thank you for reading! Thank you for writing!)
- Using social media (#G2Great each Thursday night at 8:30 PM est! Hope to see you there!)
- After school events (PTA functions, concerts, plays)
- Advocates for meaningful causes in the world (like this Sunday! Breast Cancer Walk at Jones Beach)
Consider this, what can be done to improve leadership in schools? Where does it begin? It begins with us – we are the leaders who can cut a path for change. This is a very chaotic time in public education – there are conflicting messages and initiatives. It’s easy to get overwhelmed! We are all aware of the negative narrative and people are scared of losing their jobs. Some are flocking to scripts and pre-planned lessons as though that will keep them “safe”. This is exactly when panic cannot rule the day. Change happens whenever we decide to get out of our comfort zones, and we connect with the world and gather more knowledge to make informed decisions that pull us back from the brink. What if we cut paths for change, what would that reality look like for our students? Imagine the possibility, and make a change.
“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”