Sunday, January 29, 2017

Passionate Leadership

My biggest take away from this book and my current experiences is that the best leadership requires passion, "an affair of the heart" (135).  I always knew this, but only in having lived the role (albeit briefly), I am reminded how truly crucial it is.

In our first post, we talked about why we became teachers.  Being called to teach is only half my story.  I had so many teachers who lacked passion.  I felt it as a student, and I felt cheated.  I knew they could have been giving me more, more knowledge, more challenge, more of themselves.  When I chose teaching, I made myself a promise that when I stopped loving my work, I would quit.  This job is too important, and we impact too many students, to not want to be here.

What I am going to say next may seem harsh and fixed-minded, yet it is a very strong part of my core.  I know it, I guard against it, and give people many opportunities to prove me wrong.  Yet, in  all honesty, we know there are teachers who no longer love the job. My personal experiences have also made me fairly intolerant of educators I perceive as not being passionate and engaged as professionals.  I avoid negative lunch room scenes, and I avoid these teachers.  I take the idea of our professionalism very seriously, and I want to prove people wrong who believe anyone can do this job.  Educators who are not passionate, who do the minimum, give all teachers a bad name.

What does any of this have to do with leadership?  In trying to find my path in this new leadership role, I have realized two things.  One-this is not my passion project.  I am an early adopter, I will work with the early majority, but I am not the one who will bridge to the more resistant staff.  I found myself much more compelled by the peer tutoring simulation because I am far more passionate about that than I am our current initiative.  Second-I am not sure I will ever be the carry-the-torch, out-front-leader.  I am not sure I am willing to divert the emotion, time, and energy away from my students in order to lead the charge.  I don't have the patience or tolerance for teachers I believe are not changing because it is inconvenient for them.  Change is not convenient or easy, but if it is right for kids, it is the right thing to do.  We owe it to our students and our profession to always be growing and reflecting and bettering our craft.  I hold myself to this standard, and I hold others to it also.

I think my second take-away is that I am OK with broadening my definition of leadership.  I will work within my supportive circles to innovate and change, and I will always strive to do what is best for my kids.  I will support leaders who present positive changes with their hearts on their sleeves. I will be an open door for those who are willing and ready to learn and share.  And, at the end of the day, I will always put my students first.


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  2. Thanks for not being afraid to share your thoughts on this area! I agree with you - I think there are people who teach that need to rethink their profession. Maybe they had the passion in the beginning or thought it was what they wanted to do, but like you said, are not passionate or engaged in this field. My question for you is do you think they can become re-engaged or passionate with some PD or other experience to occur? Should leaders take on the task of trying to accomplish this?

    Thanks for the post!

  3. I agree with both you and Katie. And Jen, I really appreciate your honesty in this post, because I know it's not easy for you to do that. I think this is a perfect example of you broadening your definition of leadership for yourself. You are willing to put yourself out there more than I think you were when we began this program. I think by sharing more of yourself you are leading in a very powerful way, a way that just might be the bridge some of those slower adopters need to cross. I hope you consider continuing to blog and share your thoughts even after we are finished with this program in April. We need your words!