What a topic. Leadership. This is such an important topic and something I’ve thought a lot about as I had to endure a poor leader or flourish with an inspiring leader.
Here’s my two cents. I think a lot of the qualities of an effective leader are those that also make an effective teacher. The best school leaders I have worked with were ones that got us to work for them because we liked them and because they cared about us. I believe that a good leader doesn’t just stand at the front and decree “I am your leader” (like my blog post image), but is someone who rallies people around them by cultivating relationships. A leader implies followers. A leader can be backed by an army or relationships, but the leader who has cultivated relationships will outlast the leader who leads by will and force. An effective leader is sharp, willing to take blame, more than willing to share accomplishments, follows through with what s/he says and most of all cares about the people s/he is leading. A leader is careful of his/her words because relationships are a key factor in effective leadership. Undermining relationships with gossip or lack of fait is a quick way to diminish one’s capacity to lead. A leader brings people together and facilitates a group or team achieving a a common goal.
With students, I think teaching leadership is ongoing. Demonstrating to students that being kind and generous is more effective than demeaning and rude. Establishing norms for communication; face to face and digitally. Encouraging students to take chances and take responsibility and praising them when they do. These are all necessary for growing leadership in students.
I’m very lucky because even though I no longer have classes at the high school, I was still allowed to keep my classroom as my workspace. This was partly because as the after school coordinator my room is used after school for a variety of activities and during the day as a meeting space for teachers. Because of this, my room has an impromptu closet for after school robotics materials and ping pong tables, flexible furniture, a conference room table and enough cabinet storage to store all of the after school supplies. I am extremely lucky.
Additionally, my room is connected to three other classrooms, though only one other teacher. This is something else I feel extremely grateful for…adult contact. As teachers we spend most of our day isolated from other adults and it has helped on numerous occasions to be able to walk into the other room just to be able to vent or talk to another adult.
My work area has transformed from my desk, 40 student desks, a desk for my projector, computer, overhead, papers, and photocopies for three different classes to a simple desk and hutch. Not having three different classes to prepare for has made the job of organizing and keeping tidy so much easier! Now I have a plain desk that I can actually clean off at the end of every day. That never happened when I was teaching.
My favorite part of my classroom is my art wall. At the end of French II I always had students do a huge cultural project. One of their choices was to reproduce a famous work of art. Many of the students let me keep their work and I have put them up with my copies of other works. I bet you can’t even tell the poster reproductions from the student reproductions! Just looking at the wall is calming and I am always impressed at the artistic ability of these students even years later. I’ve never been much of a classroom decorator, but these posters serve me well.
My other workspace at the community college is what I have called the most boring room possible. There’s nothing on the walls. The desks are long and difficult to re-arrange. It’s often smelly and the temperature is either hot or cold. I’m not there very long and it reminds me how much I appreciate the workspace I have at the high school. The lack of “interest” on the walls continually reminds me that the environment, while important, doesn’t in itself make the class engaging. The students and I are the ones responsible for that and I think we do a pretty good job!
I saw this #edublogsclub a couple of weeks ago and decided to check it out. I signed up yesterday so that I could challenge myself to write weekly about something even if I thought I had nothing to say.
So here’s the first one!
I’m definitely new to educational blogging. I blogged for a while for friends and family about the crazy antics of my animals (dogs, ducks, chickens, and turtles) but I haven’t done that in a loooong time. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I like trying to be witty and entertaining in writing and I’m trying to include some of that in my writing here (where appropriate.)
I keep up with blogs through Feedly and Twitter. I read every morning while I ride my spinner bike and exercise. I’m always looking for new blogs to add. I follow blogs on all different topics- social media marketing, edtech, languages and even math and science. Since my job as an instructional technology coach is to help all disciplines I like to have an idea what’s going trending in other subjects.
My goals for this #edublogsclub are to motivate me to post every week. I have lots of ideas, but I know when I start back at the college in February finding the time to blog will be hard. My hope is that having a prompt will prompt (ha ha) me to post something short and maybe that will help me keep up with my own ideas.