Going into my first night of Leadership 1 through HWDSB, I honestly had no idea what to expect. The facilitators had shared some documents electronically prior to the session that I perused, as well as a list of the groups we would be working in for the duration of the course. Upon first glance, I almost felt disappointed or unsure about my group, as there was only one other secondary teacher, and my group facilitator was to be an elementary principal. My first reaction was worry – would my interactions in this group be relevant enough for my situation? But I took a step back and realized my bias. Cross-panel relationships and connections could be so fruitful and interesting to enrich my perspective, and it is an area in my personal practice that I have not yet truly explored.
I ran with this idea when I arrived at the session and we were asked to contemplate our intentions in registering for this course. Looking around the room, I was easily one of, if not the youngest teacher in the room. So why would a teacher in only her sixth year in the profession be sitting in this course? Here are some of my responses to the questions of Why Leadership? and Why Leadership Now?
Beginning with joining Twitter in October 2012, I have been striving to build a strong PLN. Through the face-to-face contacts made in this leadership course, I can diversify my PLN with cross-panel and system connections.
2) Informal Leadership Roles
I have engaged in some informal leadership roles over my first few years of teaching. I have participated on committees for Numeracy and AER, and I have facilitated PD sessions with small groups and with a whole staff. I am hoping to find more of these opportunities and learn how to better engage other colleagues in the process.
3) Experimenting with Shared Leadership
Coordinated, shared leadership is part of the strategic directions of the HWDSB, and it is a skill that I know that I personally need to further develop. I had several roles as a student leader in university, and as stated above, I have engaged in some informal leadership as a teacher, but my comfort zone is individual leadership. I grew up much preferring to work alone than with others. However, collaboration and working within a team of leaders is essential and is part of today’s educational reality. I hope that through my experiences in this course I can reorient my preference towards shared , team-based leadership.
I am certain that with further reflection I would generate more responses to this question of Why Leadership? , but I landed on the above reasons at the end of my first session. To really address my second question, Why Leadership Now? , I think I would reply that because as a student, I was almost always in leadership positions, and it has felt unusual, and dare I say unnatural, to not be in consistent leadership roles as a professional.