Leader & Follower
How are you both a leader and a follower in your career?
I think teachers do this as part of who they are.
We listen to our administration and directives, we analyze them for how we will implement them with the students we have. In meetings we share with others our work and listen to that of others as we work towards common goals.
In the classroom we adapt and remix our lessons to meet the requirements in ways that honor our profession and our students’ agency in meeting success.
I follow the intent of what is required in tandem with the content, life, and thinking skills that students need to become critical thinkers and creative problem-solvers for their own lives. I stand up for those.
I am also the leader in my classroom– in ways that promote the leadership of my students. That means I create the climate and the context into which my students can thrive as learners, to take the lead in their own learning with support from their peers. [Example Intro Project]
In team meetings and committee meetings, we staff focus on our goals; we listen for who has experience and expertise and hash out how that ideas will work for our current goals. Sometimes I’m the listener with ideas for remixing and revising and sometimes I’m the one with some experience whose ideas need revising for our situation. It’s a give and take for the best work from each each of us, a reciprocal collaboration based on what would be best for our students.
I love writing and technology, so in those areas I can offer suggestions and help to those whose expertise is different. I have led our district into Google Classroom and Google Suite, but with the emphasis that the technology is not the goal: it’s the learning through student inquiry and voice that the technology can enhance and encourage.
Our schools are often under severe mandates for passing tests: it’s imperative that we all take the lead to tame that tsunami as the professionals we are, and I think, through our collaborative teams and willingness to go with our knowledge of excellent pedagogy and student strengths, that our school did focus on our students more than mandates. We introduced technology, genius hour, science fairs, robots, personal persuasive projects, and more to include student inquiry and interest, voice and choice so that students engage with their learning, and not the tests or grades.
We have two hands: one to reach inward for our own strengths, and one to reach out for help or to help. Good leadership is reciprocal and collaborative. In schools, there’s a lot of “we,” and we share leadership as needed.
Hands by Sheri on Flickr