For my TA badge I needed to read this post: How do you know if you’re a teacher leader? by Precious Crabtree. Yes, that’s her real name, cool right?? Anyway, down to business… I really liked this bit from the end of her post:
So I encourage you to explore your inner leader and join your colleagues in making change. I love Nelson Mandela’s quote, “Courage is not the absence of fear–it’s inspiring others to move beyond it.” I believe we can help each other overcome our fears and take action. So I ask you — will you join me in leading our profession?
Short answer? Hell. Yes. Try to stop me.
Long answer? Yes, Precious, of course I will join you in leading in the education realm. My unwavering support is on the table, ready to go, packed, and has it’s ID. I think it is very important that teachers know that they have an influential voice, and even more so, when teachers work together to better the system. It is so important to be an advocate and teacher leader in the education world. Without teacher leaders like Precious and so many more, there would be no education world.
Cindy wants to know if young teachers like myself can be teacher leaders and advocates, and my answer is yes, Cindy, absolutely! I think we’re already half way there, if not more… Through the course of this semester I think I have grown as an even better advocate/ally/writer for teachers and students alike. I have learned a lot of strategies, short term and long, that can be used to help the education world be better. I feel that I am better prepared to be a teacher and leader in today’s world. Even better, a teacher leader.
I know that a lot of teachers, especially young new ones feel that their voice doesn’t matter, and I’m here to say that that is completely wrong. All teachers deserve to be heard, and when teachers speak they will be heard. When I am really passionate about something, good luck keeping me quiet. I think on some level all teachers are like that. Some more than others, but they should all be very vocal about their passions. Our passions make us human, and yes, teachers are actual humans, too. As a teacher you must figure out when you should talk, and when you should scream (only typically figurative screaming). If something is unfair for your colleagues, you, or your students, speak up, let someone know what you feel. You will need to be prepared to back up your thoughts, argue them, prove your point. But you must always be ready and willing to discuss the other side of the argument. You aren’t always going to be right, wrong, or even listened to, but showing that you have considered the other side is incredibly important for important matters like these probably will be.
So, talk, make charts, go to school board meetings, rally teachers and parents, even let your students in on what you are doing. Often, students can have a very large impact on decisions, whether administration wants to admit it or not. Ultimately, if you think you are a leader, and you are trying to do things, you are a leader. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.