I have been told many times, by many different people, that leadership is not based upon a title, but upon your actions. So, while I have yet to take a titled leadership position, I find myself leading in many ways. This year, upon reflection I realized I needed to increase my focus on leading within my own school.
Over the past two years I have taken the easier path of developing my leadership in the broader educational community. I consider this to be an easier route, because the majority of those I was working with were willing participants. Leadership is easy when those around you are interested in going in the same direction. By contrast, within my school there are many more difficult challenges to overcome. While I do work with amazing people and with amazing kids, the willingness to trust, learn new things, and take chances is not what I find in the areas I have worked most actively in the past.
In leading from within my own walls, I have come to realize a new understanding. I lead because it is anticipatory, because it is about driving to make both myself and my school the best it can be. I see the alternative as being reactionary, waiting for my students or school to struggle before seeking the solution to come from somewhere else. I lead because I fail to see why anyone would want to wait for that solution. I know that in doing so, I will occasionally take a wrong path, but that path still leads me closer to finding success for the children I serve.
Ultimately, I don’t think leadership has been my choice. I have never been content to allow the winds to blow me where they may. Thus, I have frequently sought out ways to improve myself and those around me. Leadership is about actions, and in taking more actions to create a better classroom and a better school for kids and adults, I feel as though I am actually doing my job.