Saturday, October 5, 2013

From the Situation Room to the Classroom

As a school administrator, it is sometimes easy to get so caught up in the management demands of the job that you forget what your real purpose is, to be the instructional leader in the building. The one who isn't afraid to step down from our sometimes self constructed pedestal, to help our colleagues on the front line reignite the flame that called them forth to our noble profession in the first place. A calling that demands more than just intellect, but a heart committed to stand firm even when it seems as though our toiling is in vain. When test scores and public opinion paint a picture so gruff that even our students begin to own the image they see. It is in these moments that we become that beacon of light; that voice calling out in the wilderness, we can do it! We can birth forth a generation of educators who not only rise to the occasion, but welcome the challenge with open arms. Educators who refuse to believe that a test score defined any one child left in their charge. These are remains of an instructional leader, and these my dear friends are the fruits every administrator should desire to produce.

So, how do we get here? How do we become intellectual communities in which teachers and students alike have a passion for learning? We do this by becoming the very thing we desire to see. It's time out for administrators who only come up for air to facilitate a staff meeting, meet with a parent, correct an errant child or complete a formal observation. Your presence is needed on the front lines. You can't be resolved to just talk about best practices, you must be willing to model them. More importantly, you must be willing to accept the criticism that will surely follow if it doesn't work for you and your school. Those who are instructional leaders don't know it all and nor do they possess some rare ability given only to a small few. No my friend, their tenacity is found in the belief that you can't lead anyone to a place you are not willing to go to yourself. So instead of telling the people in their charge what to do, they show them what to do, and they stand along side them and help them do it too. 

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