So often we talk about giving control back to students, back to teachers, and not trying to own and control everything. It is easy to say, but it becomes very difficult to do.
Tonight and this summer I have started to do this. Granted, this is not by choice, but by necessity. It has become ideal for me though. Several months ago I began my own edchat on twitter. It started quite randomly and then turned into something I have truly enjoyed. I began the chat during a conversation with around 10 people about teacher leadership. It was frustrating being limited to so few characters with so many people involved and I decided to create the hashtag for #tleadchat.
I began the chat thinking lots of teachers would take the lead, but as the weeks went on, I had lots of things I wanted to learn more about. I started using the chat as a personal learning space for topics I found interesting.
Finally, as the summer approached, I had a problem. I work nights during the summer, specifically the nights that #tleadchat took place. I was forced to either watch my chat disappear for the summer, or give up control to the teachers I hoped to see lead at the beginning.
Tonight was the first chat that I gave to someone else. (not counting one that I co-moderated a few weeks back) I was a participant in her ideas, her questions, her learning. It gave me a great perspective. I need to be that participant. To me, running a chat seemed like such a simple task because I had done it over a dozen times. I forgot that it can be intimidating.
She (@ChEdTn Julie South) was AWESOME. She asked great questions, adjusted to the learners in her chat, and offered a lot to the chat! It was better because I stepped aside. In reflection, I realized that I should have stepped aside earlier. I can always take days here and there, but by turning control over to someone who wanted the chance, I got to see her success. I got to witness her being great, which was an even more exciting than getting to do it myself!
As a leader, giving up control is the hardest thing we do. Trusting that everyone else around you will rise to the occasion and do something well, is a huge part of what being a leader means. Almost every date on the summer schedule is now filled. I cannot wait to see how great everyone does as they continue to take control. If you are on the fence about giving up some control, jump off, trust your people to do the best they can and do great things!