Two years ago, my principal and I were walking down the hallway, chatting about the day somehow the conversation moved to how I thought I needed to start grad school.
“Administration?” she asked with a smile.
“No way,” I said without hesitation.
I’m sure I could have been a little more sensitive and said “maybe” instead of dismissing the idea completely, but it was something I had never considered. At the time, I had only been teaching for 4 years. I was very focused on improving my teaching and thought that focusing my grad school work on teaching and learning would be something I would enjoy. Administration wasn’t even in the picture.
But in that moment with my principal, a seed was planted. I started to wonder if leadership was a path I should take. Over the summer, a building leadership opportunity came my way. If I took it, it would mean less time in the classroom and more time working with small groups of students, working with teachers, analyzing data and coordinating testing. So, I did a quick pro and con list and decided to go for it.
I’m finishing up my second year in this position that I was fortunate enough to get, and I can firmly say that I’m glad I am going down this path. Leadership is a new found passion and interest. I’m one year into my educational administration program and I will be starting my principal internship this fall. I would have never guessed I am where I am two years ago. So, how did I come to realize building my leadership skills was the path I wanted to take?
- I started following blogs and folks on Twitter that focused on educational leadership.
- I reflected on what I am passionate about (student learning, innovative teaching, and building relationship) and made a plan for blending that into a leadership style.
- I exercise and develop my leadership vision by speaking up and sharing my thoughts more.
- I listen more and ask lots of questions.
- I do want I can to remove roadblocks for students and teachers so they can act on their goals and passions.
All of this continues to help me know that this is what I want to do moving forward. It gives me energy and the successes are addictive. Honestly, I’ve realized that we are all leaders in our own right. Students, teachers, and parents are all leaders in moving a school’s progress forward. I just needed time to look inward at myself and figure out just how far I wanted to take this path.
If you are wondering if developing your leadership is something you might be interested in doing, here are a couple of links to blogs that helped me realize building my leadership skills was the right path to take for me:
A “To-Be” List for Aspiring Leaders by Angela Maiers
Leaders Should Be Learners (video) by George Couros
Are You A Teacher-Leader? at Getting Smart
6 SIgns of a Natural Leader at SmartBlogs