Who wants an ineffective ‘Teacher-Leader’?

Teacher-Leader1-1024x521I wanted to share with you some takeaways that I had from a course in Leadership and Supervision in Schools. No student or staff member wants to follow someone who does not exemplify the qualities that they are asking and seeking from them. It all starts with the individual first. I believe that as teachers, sometimes we forget that we are already leaders. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been drawn to this profession. We covered three main topics: the importance of collaboration, qualities of an effective teacher leader, and myths of leading from the middle. Here is what I gained from each topic:

Topic 1: The importance of Collaboration

Throughout the course, we have looked at many strategies that help us lead from the middle. One of these strategies that showed up constantly throughout Maxwell’s book, was collaboration. I learned that collaboration is necessary to help our students and leaders thrive. It is designed to help ease the burden of wearing many hats as well as reaching a common goal. It also provided us with ways to collaborate with our colleagues such as asking ways that I can be of assistance and volunteering to do certain activities. This topic was important to me because it is something that I struggled with; now, I realize that working together versus working alone is more impactful. You have other people that are willing to work with you and strengthen you in areas where you are weak; collaboration is not meant to be competition. I have a better understanding of what collaboration really is and the purpose of it.

Topic 2: Qualities of Effective Teacher Leader

This topic of what makes an effective teacher leader was also discussed throughout our course; I learned that effective teacher leaders have a passion for teaching and learning, building relationships, communicating, embracing change, and much more. I named these qualities because I learned that I have qualities of a teacher leader, whether I knew it or not. I also learned how to recognize these qualities and appreciate those leaders who possess them. I will continue to grow personally and professionally to make sure I carry these qualities with me inside and outside the classroom. Learning about these qualities helped me to be transparent with myself and my own character. It allowed me the opportunity to reflect on some qualities that needed to be strengthened.

Topic 3: The Myths of Leading from the Middle

During this topic, we looked at seven myths of leading from the middle. These myths were:

MYTH #1 The Position Myth: “I can’t lead if I am not at the top.”

MYTH #2 The Destination Myth: “When I get to the top, then I’ll learn to lead.”

MYTH #3 The Influence Myth: “If I were on top, then people would follow me.”

MYTH #4 The Inexperience Myth: “When I get to the top, I’ll be in control.”

MYTH #5 The Freedom Myth: “When I get to the top, I’ll no longer be limited.”

MYTH #6 The Potential Myth: “I can’t reach my potential if I’m not the top leader.”

MYTH #7 The AII-or-Nothing Myth: “If I can’t get to the top, then I won’t try to lead.”

This was one of the most perspective changing and important topics that I learned from throughout this class. I learned that you can be a leader from where you are, making it to the top does not mean you were not a leader prior to that. It is important to develop qualities of a leader before you become the head of any organization. The middle sharpens your skills because it is where you are naturally being a leader without the recognition or the title, you learn a sense of humility and servant leadership. These myths keep a lot of individuals stagnant or fearful of doing what needs to be done at that moment.  Knowing that these are common myths that we all have faced or will face allowed me to imagine what is on the other side of these beliefs. Now that I am aware of how to decipher these myths and move beyond them, I will not allow these limiting thoughts to defeat me or cause me to be any less than the leader I am capable of being and becoming.

Published by Andrea Pickens and Associates, LLC

Greetings: My name is Andrea S. Pickens; I have several years of experience in education and youth development all of which include teaching and leading youth in under-resourced and economically disadvantaged communities. I believe that it is critical to the academic and over success of our youth to have proper academic and social-emotional support. This support is often found in schools and after-school programs that intervene by providing tutoring/enrichment services and are equipped with effective teachers and leaders. My belief is that each child can learn, but not all children learn the same; diversity and equity is crucial to youth development. It is my mission as an educator, entrepreneur, and servant-leader to equip and empower others in youth development and education to reach our youth beyond the secondary classroom. Yours in Education, Andrea S. Pickens, M.Ed

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