After having read the PDF provided from Stephen and Kirsten and when I reflect about leadership, I think about how leadership is constantly being transformative…..it’s constantly changing. In order to be an effective leader, I believe that this person must continue to listen, inspire, collaborate and create a vision that truly supports learners and staff members. Not only is it about inspiring fellow staff members, it’s also about helping to motivate staff members in a meaningful way that truly does inspire others to work with the vision. While at the same time, supporting our students in a positive way where they can be successful in their educational journey.
I truly believe that a leader is not born, a leader is made….through some leaders do inherit certain qualities that make them better suited for leadership. Leaders also learn to become leaders through training and observation. Having been a Core leader for the past three years in my School Division, I know that I have failed and that I have also been successful in my own leadership styles…….it’s something that I am continuously working on…….and l keep learning as I move forward.
When describing two key life experiences that have shaped my approach to leadership, I can think about the heavy workload that all teachers are constantly facing with marking, class sizes, constant data entry of marks, keeping up to date with emails, finding ways to support our students who may need extra support. While at the same time balancing school work life with home-life. This year, our school created a “student talk” data sheet where we are to document how we are supporting our Advisory students who are at risk of falling behind or at risk of failing. I have 15 core members in my group whom I support on a daily basis. Two colleagues do not know how to use Excel or Google docs and are feeling overwhelmed that they have to add this information to another document. As a leader, I listened and heard their frustrations. I offered to show them how to use these documents, though even after they were explained how to use the documents, they were still not sure how to use them and were feeling quite frustrated with the process. When these monthly documents come out now, I simply visit these two colleagues during their prep or after school and I type up the information for them. One teacher said that she was relieved that I was doing this for her….that she felt less overwhelmed.
Another situation was when a teacher was not inputting marks into Power-school. Our assessment document for our school division states that marks should be updated every two weeks on Power-school. My colleague (in December) had not updated his marks since the end of September. This is an issue to support our students, to ensure that students are on the right track and are also meeting the outcomes for grade 9. When I went to visit and talk with my colleague, after listening to him, I found that he was embarrassed that he did not know how to properly use Power-school or how to add outcomes based reporting. He explained that he was feeling overwhelmed with the marking, and with his personal home-life. That day and every second week, we go over Powerschool and outcomes together. He knows how to use the system better, though he mentioned that he feels better that check in on him to make sure he is doing entries correctly. We also talked more formative assessments to help support his teaching practices. I feel that in my leadership, I use the participative and relationship theories. I always try to take the input of others and I encourage collaboration in decision making. I also feel that I am constantly trying to make connections and build relationships with fellow colleagues.
When looking at the many leadership approaches, I was very taken by the creative leadership style. I believe that a leader will demonstrate in a meaningful way the vision but will also help lead the path to get there. Motivating, inspiring, and empowering people in this process is key. I agree that it is important to create a climate of trust in order for this leadership style to be effective where it’s okay to disagree, it’s okay to tolerate failure and to also reward innovation and at the same time encourage other colleagues to see their own leadership.
I feel that the charismatic leadership style is another interesting and important approach where leaders inspire the eagerness of their fellow colleagues and motivate them to move forward. This will encourage colleagues to be excited about goal achievements and visions in the school building.
Finally what interests me the most is the democratic and participative leadership style. This is important as all voices of colleagues are heard and (hopefully) included in final decision makings. I believe when colleagues are included in the discussions, that their voices, thoughts are being heard, that they are engaged in varied projects and policies. That they will be more productive and involved in the school vision and they will be engaged in future projects and decisions to support student success.
What other leadership approaches (from the PDF) were you interested in?