This post is week 3 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.

Leader & Follower

How are you both a leader and a follower in your career?

Following:

  • Because I must, as every mathematics and ELA teacher must, I follow the dictates of an abusive test-and-punish system. I pull data from the testing students must undergo: district baselines, district interim tests that go by many names, and finally the Big Event itself. I do the analysis and I can even make a good prediction as to how any student will perform as I may be the only person in my state to take the raw score (% of questions answered correct) and match it to the reported state score. Mind you, I am not suckered by this game, but it is one I have to play.
  • Administration. While the collegial approach is best and the best administrators I have ever worked for use it, I respect their right to make the hard decisions for the operation of my school. I am glad I can have my say without repercussions. But in the end, it is the principal who must decide. I follow those decisions to the best of my ability.
  • As a blogger, I write my pieces and share them with the world. Like most, I write about the things that interest me or grab me. Many times, I run across someone else’s post that expresses my thought much better than I can. Rather than trying to outdo them, I give them the recognition they deserve. That is why, at times, you will find I posted something on my Facebook page that I did not write or I reblogged directly. It’s not a competition for fame. Everyone of us must do our part to save our schools and, as a team, we will go farther.
  • Teaching is collaborative work. I don’t know it all. So while others often follow my lead, I follow theirs when they have a good idea to share.

Leading:

  • I volunteer my time as most teachers do in one way or another. Currently, I sponsor an after-school activity and chair the Positive Behavior Intervention Support Committee at school. As I have studied and learned, I have shared with my colleagues and we are making a positive change in the school culture. It is only a few small steps now, but that is the way every large change begins.
  • Younger teachers seek me out for advice on how to handle situations in their classrooms.
  • This blog. Many teachers are afraid to say what they want. They tell me that they are glad I am saying it for them.

I have done many things in my career, but nothing has been as satisfying as being a classroom teacher. In the end, we have to answer the question by saying that we lead students in their development and growth, but to do that, we have to follow their needs and adjust our methods accordingly.

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