Deciding to become a leader was not an overnight decision. I’m usually content to be behind-the-scenes and help others with what they are doing. Leading doesn’t come naturally to me. I wouldn’t even be a Domain Technology Leader (DLT) if I hadn’t put up my hand volunteering to be a House Tech leader who looked after the laptop trolleys in the house (our school has 7 houses). So I thought I was going to be monitoring the use of laptops. Little did I realise that a couple of years down the line, I’d be a Tech Leader for the English, Humanities and LOTE domain. Big change! Scary idea and very challenging!
Initially I hadn’t planned on applying for the position of DLT because I didn’t think that I was a leader. However the Technology Leader for Learning (TLL) must have seen something in me and asked me to put in an application. I did so, not expecting to get the position as I had no faith in my abilities. The teachers on the panel had more faith in me and gave me the position.
I’d like to say that being a leader is easy, but it’s not. Just the thought of standing in front of my peers can make me want to run or be sick. As the years have passed, it’s been easier to talk to my peers but I still didn’t feel like I had anything important to say to them. I felt that I was just passing on the opinions of others and not giving my thoughts a voice. That has changed in the last two months since I joined Twitter. I know I’m placing a lot of emphasis on Twitter, but I have finally found my own voice. I’m like a student in class who does not volunteer an opinion- who sits quietly listening to others talk but does not speak until the day the teacher introduces a backchannel. That’s the day that student can finally speak and Twitter has been like that for me.
Now I’m glad that I’m a leader. I recognise my own abilities. I know I have a long way to go. I have a voice and I want it to be heard. On Twitter, I listen to the conversations around me and try and participate frequently. It makes me more confident about my opinions. I am starting to share my ideas. They may not compare to the educational greats in Australia or around the world, but they can make a difference in my school . I am an agent of change and if I can do that with students in my class, I can help other teachers as well. As the moderators mentioned on Twitter last night:
— Fishtree Education (@fishtree_edu) August 16, 2014
So where do I see myself heading in terms of being a leader? I want to be a Teaching and Learning Leader. Saying that and even writing it, is a monumental decision for me. I had to think about it for a while. I knew that I wasn’t interested in being a coordinator and that I was more interested in curriculum. Having read a number of articles over the last couple of months and well as engaging in chats about what it means to be a leader, I’ve realised that I want to prepare my students to be active participants in the 21st century which means that they need certain skills taught to them. This applies to all the students at my school and I want to have a say in how students learn in this new setting. Teachers are mentors in the 21st century. Gone are the days when they stand in front of a class and deliver a lecture. Students need to develop the skills of critical thinking, collaboration and communication and the way they can do that is by being involved in their learning.
I want to show staff at my school that it is okay that changes are happening. I was afraid at first to get my students involved, but the results of their engagement in the learning is in front of me. They are becoming more independent in their learning, they seek help when they need it and they enjoy being able to work with each other without being dictated to. They learn how they want to – after all isn’t that what personalisation of learning is supposed to be? I want to be part of that change- to show them that if I am passionate about my own learning, so can they. I want other teachers to see that too. It’s not going to be easy, but it all starts with little steps.
As a leader, I can encourage people to walk that journey with me. I can’t force them, but I can lead by example. Each person’s learning journey is unique and happens when they are ready for it. My journey has just started and I am amazed by all that I learn each day. The challenge for me now is to get other staff at my school on that journey, to show them what I am learning and what they too can learn. Teaching is an adaptive skill- it changes with the time and we don’t need to have all the answers. I have my voice and I will make sure I am heard. I am finally ready to
Be the change you want to see in the world- Mahatma Gandhi