On Thursday, I read a blog post by George Couros, the author of The Innovator’s Mindset. In it, he revisits (he originally wrote about this topic in 2011) the idea of moving from “classroom management” to “classroom leadership.” In 2016, I began thinking about, re-evaluating currently held beliefs, and developing my own ideas around leadership vs. management through my coursework for my Administration and Supervision certification. George validates my thinking when he paraphrases Stephen Covey, “you manage things, but we lead people.” How true that is! People don’t want to be managed. This is true for adults and children, alike. Instead, if a person is inspired, they will do great things. They will want to do great things!
As I reflect on this topic, here are a few things I believe:
- People, in general, will rise to the expectations set before them. It doesn’t matter if we are the leader of a school or the leader in a classroom, if we believe in the people around us (no matter how young they are), they will rise up!
- We need to be cognizant of the language we use. If we are always sending messages of deficit thinking, our students will internalize and believe that about themselves. Wouldn’t it be better if we sent messages of affirmation instead? Children will internalize those positive affirmations and will be inspired to do great things!
- We have to be willing to re-frame our thinking. And maybe even to change it. Does the word “teacher” equate to an adult standing in front of the classroom sharing their knowledge day in and day out? Or could the word “teacher” equate to an adult learning beside his/her students through the facilitation of active learning opportunities? Does “learning” equate to students receiving the messages the teacher is sending verbally (i.e. the content and curriculum)? Or could “learning” equate to students actively constructing their own meaning of the content in a way that works for them (creating, reading, writing, viewing videos, etc.)? Is it necessary for a classroom to have desks set in rows, inhibiting conversations amongst peers (great for management)? Or, could classrooms become places of discourse and hubs for the empowerment of students (building leadership)?
As parents, our legacy is not just how we raise our children, it is what our children become because of the way we raised them. If my children are inspired to give back to this world in some way, if they go out and do great things, I will consider my parenting a success. The same holds true for our other “kids.” The children that walk through the doors of our classrooms and schools on a daily basis. Our legacy as educators does not lie in what we do in our classrooms every day, it is in what our students do as a result.
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