I have been feeling introspective lately and had two recent conversations with @LancelotTeacher and @JohnHardison1 that have helped me make some connections to what I believe. John is starting up a blend learning academy for our district and as we were chatting about ways I hoped my group could lend support to his group he made an interesting point. He said he would rather see a teacher working with kids that maybe had a little less content knowledge and more heart, or willingness to connect to students. And I think about my friend Teri, who is my mommy-mentor, whenever I have a mom question I alway want to know her opinion on it. So who teaches me and leads me?
I know traditionally chronology and authority is where we often look for leaders of teachers. If we talk about authority first, I can tell you I have only ever had three types of bosses: leaders who stir my spirit, benign bosses, and horrible examples. Of course we all know which is the worst, right? Yes, the benign boss. One who never rises my ire to make me articulate what I stand for as well as against is worse than the horrible example. But of course, the one who brings you to an emotional high whenever s/he speaks is the best. Tiring, as you will spend your days trying to reach perfection, but still the best.
Yet, both Teri and John are not a recognized authority figure to me, not a boss in my job role. So, why do I look to them as examples of leaders? Maybe it is because I see them as doers of deeds I value. I have witnessed John to inspire his students as well as his colleagues when it did not seem people were watching. He was not doing it to be seen, but to DO it. I have seen Teri assertively lead her children and students down the path she feels is right with unfaltering consistency. Maybe it is because they have very clear goals and seem to have aligned their values to move them toward those goals. I just know that I like the manner in which they pursue what they want and I want to emulate them in some manner.
One thing I have learned is that there is cover in being “just a teacher,” (eye roll on the *just*) a teacher can be as great or as unremarkable as they choose to be in the classroom. When I accepted an elearning position I learned more things which made my decisions as simple as what was best for “my” kids. Because I realized as a classroom teacher I was indirectly competing with other classroom teachers and their kids. I now had to entertain a district or school outlook, which included making recommendations I never would have made as a classroom teacher. I assume that actually being the final decision maker has more competing interests than I am willing to entertain probably.
The other thing I have learned is that my boss is not my leader. I must not confuse the two. One chooses me and the other I choose.