By Bridget Varner
Do you have a favorite leader at your school? I have one, it’s the librarian at my school! We lovingly call her Mrs. T because her last name is a tongue twister. Her leadership makes my school a better place. As teachers, we are leaders! First and foremost to our students but also to many colleagues and community members around us.
Leadership is such a large part of our job that I was excited to learn more about it. I’m a Utah Teacher Fellow and the Fellows meet once a month. We frequently learn from guest speakers. This year Rob Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Alpine School District, spoke to us. Rob shared what he believes makes impactful educational leaders.
First, Educational Leaders have confident humility. They are all about helping other people. Second, they will take every opportunity to improve. These types of teachers and leaders are always learning and growing. Seeing the importance in continually becoming better. Third, Educational Leaders have to be vulnerable. Fourth, showing gratitude is apart of their character. Rob expressed that gratitude is a state of mind. He shared that writing thank you cards and using #grateful in his posts are some ways he stays grateful. Along with staying grateful educational leaders give away credit to others and sometimes have to be willing to take fire and blame. Fifth, it’s important to look for the good in people. Rob shared that he carries around a coin to remind him that just like a coin people have two sides. The coin is a constant reminder to him to look for the good in people.
What he shared helped me understand what made Mrs. T an effective leader and ways I can improve my leadership. Mrs. T shares her vision with staff every year which is to make her library a happy place and it is! She’s always improving it and making it exciting for students. She shares gratitude consistently in emails, guava cupcake treats, and spontaneous hot chocolate days when spring just won’t warm up. She is vulnerable with teachers and lets the library be a place to cry when you need to, laugh about the crazy days, and just talk when needed. She is humble and is kind to everyone.
These types of educational leaders are inspiring and needed! I’m grateful for these two examples. We can use these ideas more in our classrooms and spheres of influence. I believe teachers using these leadership ideas will positively impact their classrooms, schools, and communities.