Leadership – It Takes A Village

When you hear the word LEADERSHIP, what comes to mind?

          Superintendent? Principal? Curriculum Directors?

Lately, I have been participating in many Twitter chats where leadership has been the topic. My normal ones are #txeduchat, #IAedchat, #PISDbkclub, and #edslowchat.  I’m not a principal, but the topic of leadership is of high interest to me and here is why. For awhile now I have felt that leadership does not just come from the principal alone.  It can come from coaches, teachers, paras, custodians, parents, and most importantly, from the students!  You’ve heard it said, it takes a village to do this thing called life.  The same goes for education.

Many thoughts have been swirling around my head on this topic because even though we already know this, when we are truly honest about it, how many of us shy away from stepping up? There are so many reasons to fear shared leadership, especially if you are an introvert. Believe it or not, I lean more to that side. 🙂

  • It’s scary to be pushed out of your comfort zone.  
  • It’s scary to not know the “why” behind the changes happening.
  • It’s scary to admit you might not know an answer. (And to be okay with that.)
  • It’s scary to put yourself out there and think you are being judged or evaluated.
  • It’s scary speaking in front of peers. Need I say more?!
It’s scary, but we know that when we all contribute…. real transformation happens!!

This year my role changed from years as a classroom teacher to a literacy intervention specialist.  After the first week without a classroom of kids I could hug and laugh with, I thought, “What on earth did I just do?!” (Whew! I said it. The first step is admitting it, right!?)

Fortunately for me, that quickly changed!   I consider myself the luckiest Literacy Intervention Specialist because my principal understands and encourages my passion for learning and sharing new ideas, teaching and being around kids, and taking risks to try innovative things.  I have the luxury of not only providing intervention services for students, but I get to go into the classrooms to support teachers in great literacy instruction by co-teaching/modeling lessons!  This is truly the BEST of both worlds!

How did I get so lucky you ask?

My principal recognizes the value of shared leadership.  He seeks out strengths in all teachers and gives the gentle push to have them lead some area of our campus in some way. We have amazing teachers.  Too many times classroom teachers never have a chance to get “out” to see the awesomeness of each other.

But wait, this also happens with students! Classroom teachers know the strengths of their students more than anyone else!  It is our duty to guide our students to recognize their own strengths and the strengths in each other.  It is our duty to teach them how to use these to benefit everyone. Along those same lines, teaching our students to know their weaknesses and when to ask for help is just as important. There is nothing I love more than seeing kids step up as leaders!

My reflections on shared leadership:

  • Trust, Trust, and Trust each other.  Know that we are all teaching every child in our building. 
  • When everyone in the building steps up and leads, everyone in the building grows.
  • When teachers feel they are part of the HOW and WHY decisions of their classroom they are willing to do anything!
  • When students feel they have a voice and are part of the decisions in their education trust and ownership happen.
  • When parents feel they have a voice in their child’s education, trust in the school increases.  They are happy because their kids are happy. This empowers them to speak about the good things happening in schools.
Do you see the spiral of transformation that can happen if we practice shared leadership? 
This quote sums up WHY we need to involve EVERYONE in the process.  Imagine the great things that can happen!

Author: Bridget Visser

I am a passionate educator advocating for ALL Children! Love all things around Student Voice, Literacy, Technology, Innovation, Student Design, and Empowering Others in positive ways! I am a learner, energized by connecting with other educators sharing their learning!