“What makes a good leader? Am I a Leader? What are the qualities of a leader? How do you lead change in a school? How do you get other teachers to include and experiment with new ideas in their classroom? Why do others see me as a Leader?”
These are just just some of the questions that have been swirling around in my head. I want to be able to answer these questions to enable me to understand what I need to do to be a leader. I have the title “Domain Technology Leader” at my school, yet I don’t feel like an effective leader. This is an ongoing conversation in my head as well as with other teachers and one that I still have yet to make sense of.
So what makes a good leader in my opinion?
A leader is a person who is confident in speaking in front of others- when I stand in front of my domain teachers, my mouth refuses to open or I constantly stumble over my words. I can’t get my message across. I find it difficult to talk to a group of my peers because sometimes I’m afraid of how they will react.
A leader can initiate change: To me a leader is someone who identifies changes that can be made and finds a way to implement them, not just in their classroom but at a school level. This is a skill I struggle with especially when it relates to whole-school implementation. I’m comfortable with trying new ideas in my class but when it comes to sharing the benefits and the results it’s not easy to do. Knowing that many staff are not receptive of new ideas, makes me hesitant in sharing to all. I try to share my ideas with staff I talk to on a regular basis, with the idea that if I start small, it might make a difference.
A leader models change: With the increased use of technology in Education, new teaching practices that teach key 21st century skills to students, leaders are those who are open-minded. They are willing to try new ideas and experiment with them to improve student engagement and ownership in their learning.
A leader is open to change: Schools establish and maintain their visions and values so that students, staff and the wider community are aware of the expectations. Bringing in change can often be met with resistance from members of the school community. A leader is aware of the status quo, yet is open to accepting changes in teaching pedagogies. A leader may not initiate the change, but they listen to others opinions and support teaching and learning initiatives. With the aim of ensuring that students’ different learning abilities shape the teaching, they understand the use of technology within the classroom. One of the reasons I chose to become a Domain technology leader was to understand how technology can support the learning in my classroom as well as in the school. It allows teachers to extend the students’ capabilities and to equip them with skills they need as they move into the workforce.
A good leader is approachable and supportive: One of the qualities I admire in my immediate leaders is their ability to support the staff. Whenever I go to them for advice, they first listen and then they actively work with me to help me resolve an issue or come up with a solution. They don’t resolve the issue themselves, they help me develop the skills I need to implement the solution. This is something I need to develop myself as a leader.
A good leader knows their staff and their abilities: One of the skills I am interested in developing is the ability to recognise what the staff need to know when implementing new teaching practices. During my first years, I just went about my daily duties without quite understanding what I was doing. Having had that experience, I want to ensure that other staff understand the reasoning behind why new pedagogies like “PBL” are being implemented. I want to run PD that helps them gain an understanding of not just what is new but also the reasons why they can be effective.
This post is written as part of the #blogsync challenge for Connected Educator month. It has also been shaped by conversations with other staff as well as some Year 9 students. I was interested in these conversations as they helped me understand how I can be a better leader.