Leading is more about what you choose to do rather than the title you have. Like most of you, I've witnessed many campus teachers who were amazing examples of trailblazers who were the epitome of excellence and who all the other teachers looked up to, went to advice for, and wanted to be like. These were the educators who inspired others and lit flames!
On the other hand I'v also seen professionals with elaborate titles who did the bare minimum and often created tension or were like a firework that was a dud...you hoped it would ignite into a beautiful burst of colors, but instead it fizzled into a messy, smelly smoke bomb. Such a disappointment.
I know if you are reading this you are one of two things: either already a wonderful leader in your own right, or a budding leader who needs a little advice. You're in the right place.
Over the years, I've met many EL educators who have a strong desire:
Let's face it, it can be intimidating to lead...especially when it may mean standing in front of your own peers, your colleagues. Many people are comfortable with teaching at the front of classrooms of young students, but placed in front of adults and things change. Why is that? One reason could be that our peers can be hard on us. Some of our own colleagues are our hardest critics, and we may know it because we've heard them talk about other presenters or trainings. They aren't always the nicest critics.
When I taught third grade my principal asked me to attend a training and then turn it around at our campus and train our staff. I was so intimidated especially by the teachers who had more experience than I did. Luckily, that administrator saw something in me that I didn’t see yet. Finding a mentor that will push you and encourage you to do just a little more than you think you can is a gift! When someone you admire believes in you, suddenly you believe too.
But what if you don’t have a principal like I did? One that will encourage and push you? Don’t fret. You can still lead. Leaders like you have passion and drive. Surround yourself with cheerleaders and mentors. I'm reminded of a story that my friend Jody Nolf shared on the Facebook Group Advocating for ELLs about two runners in a race. The runner in the lead stop right before the finish line thinking he had already won. He was confused by the language barrier. But the runner just behind him saw his confusion and rather than taking advantage of this, he pushed the lead runner past the finish line to win. We all need people like that in our lives. People that will push us even when we get a little lost. (link to the youtube video of this story)
In addition, I'll leave you with a link to another article written by Dr. Stephen Fleenor which includes 4 approaches school leadership teams can take now.