This is based on a post by author and speaker Michael Hyatt, who writes a blog on leadership. You can find him at http://www.michaelhyatt.com
Leadership is certainly something to consider in the classroom. When you teach a group of people, you want those people to look up to you, to respect you, and to follow your leadership. As a former school teacher, I have worked with teenagers who wanted someone to respect and not just teacher to obey. Sometimes I felt like they had no interest in the topic I was teaching and maybe it was true, but before anything else I think students will listen to someone they respect.
So how can we become a teacher who leads, not just someone who teaches?
Teachers who lead have the knowledge and the wisdom. The first thing you need is to get your students to respect you, but you have to earn that respect. Don’t think that just because you are the teacher they are supposed to follow you and accept whatever you say as true. Personal development is key and students can certainly realize when a teacher knows what they are doing. Is your English good enough for the levels you are teaching? Are you committed to your development?
Teachers who lead are willing to take initiative. They go first. They model behaviors and speak with actions. Good teachers don’t ask students to do something they’d never do themselves. If you demand commitment from your students, that’s ok, but are you committed yourself? You demand students to have homework ready and to be prepared for class, but are you? Initiative is a core component of leadership.
Teachers who lead are influential. Great teachers who lead their students are able to gain a following and move their students to become better, they inspire their students to be the best they can be. You can do that by being a motivator, encouraging students to give their best by looking at their strengths and not just their weak areas. Don’t label them as disrespectful, noisy and lazy, they’ve had enough of that! everyone has something to offer and your job is to discover that in your students. You can see the potential they have because you care abou them.
Teachers who lead make an impact. Teachers who lead are able to create change. Even if you are “just a teacher” who has to follow a certain curricula, don’t underestimate the power of your impact. If you are not happy with the status quo, what are you waiting for? If you see that change is needed, but you feel you must adjust to a certain methodology, start small and make a difference in your clasroom, use new techniques, conduct new research, ask your students what they think, what they need. Many teachers are afraid to ask their students: How do you feel about my teaching? Not you! You can change the world one lesson at a time!
Teachers who lead are ethical. Not all leaders are ethical, not all of them have values they can be proud of. Author Stephen Covey said that integrity is the ability to make your actions line up with your words. Think about it, for example if you say you’ll have the exam results by tomorrow, then you need to do it. Keep your word, because you reputation is the most valuable thing you possess.
I can’t wait to hear about your triumphs and challenges as teachers. Do you consider yourself a leader for your students? How have you managed to earn their respect?