A Taste Of Leadership

Now that Camp Power has come to an end, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking around leadership. One of the things that this camp allows me to do is to develop my leadership skills. As one of the site leads, I get to support instructors with program planning and implementation, as well as coordinate professional development opportunities to continue to extend this learning throughout the three-week camp program. This position excites me. It makes me think and act in different ways. It helps me see the value in a good question, the need for a positive school culture, and the importance of building community. 

I love watching the growth of children and staff (myself included) throughout the 15 day program, and thinking about everything that was needed to make this happen. But one thing that I appreciate the most about this site lead opportunity is that it gives individuals in a teaching role, the chance to lead. 

I remember a meeting that I was invited to a number of months before the summer program began. Representatives from different local school boards that are involved in the Summer Learning Program came to this meeting. As we went around the table to introduce ourselves, people identified their School Board role. I met many principals and consultants, but I was the only teacher around this table. This is often when I default to the line, “I just teach Kindergarten.” I wonder why I feel the need to include the word, “just.” Is everyone else a better leader because they are one all year round? 

Here’s the truth. I love my job as a Kindergarten teacher. I want to be in the classroom. 

  • Working with children excites me.
  • I may not countdown the number of days until school ends, but I do countdown the number of days until it begins.
  • Our kids make me laugh.
  • I have the best teaching partner in the world, who constantly gets me thinking differently, trying new things, and considering other approaches to better support kids. 
  • Watching children master difficult concepts, learn new skills, and change their attitude towards learning, thrills me. 
  • The classroom is one of the places where I’m happiest!

This doesn’t mean that I want to give up my summer leadership opportunity for an instructor position. Being a site lead comes with its own challenges, its own successes, and its own joy. I’m thrilled that the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board allows a teacher to be a leader in this way, and still go back to the classroom every September. Maybe one day, I’ll want to extend my formal leadership beyond the summer months, but for now, I couldn’t be happier to be heading back to teaching … and with some new thoughts and skills that I have learned this summerHow do different schools and Boards support leadership interests among classroom teachers? I wonder if there are other educators out there like me, who love the classroom environment, while also enjoying a taste of leadership.

Aviva

6 thoughts on “A Taste Of Leadership

  1. Thanks for sharing your reflections on this leadership experience. Leadership is about influence towards clear goals and each and every day educators in classrooms, like you, are demonstrating leadership. Aviva, have a great September with your students and it was a pleasure spending time at Camp Power 2018!

    • Thanks Manny! I really appreciate the feedback here, and have definitely enjoyed my Camp Power Site Lead opportunity. Your comment makes me think about what “leadership” means, and maybe I need to consider even more of the leadership in everyday teaching. This just makes me consider taking the Leadership Course that the Board offers even more. This may be the year.

      Aviva

      P.S. Thanks for coming to visit Camp Power this year! You made a huge impact on kids, who continued to talk about their lunchtime with you, even after you left.

  2. Thank you for being so passionate about teaching, leading, caring, nurturing and nourishing the loves of everyone you come in contact with. You may not always see the impacts you make on the lives of the adults you work with. I can say I am a better person for having the opportunity to have spent the last 3 weeks learning from you.

    • Wow! Thank you so much, Corissa! I really appreciate that. It has been wonderful learning with and from you too. It’s clear how much you care about kids, and will go out of your way to support and connect with them. You were always there to help! One of my favourite memories of camp is watching you sit on the floor in the library and read with a child as he did some building. You found a positive way to get through to him, and it’s these kind of memories that make me so very happy. I really hope that our paths will cross again!

      Aviva

  3. I would argue that by sharing your journey in the classroom through your blog and social media that you are being a leader all year long. I teach secondary (usually), yet I still learn from you all the time. At the secondary level, we have department heads who get that balance between leadership and classroom teaching, but my experience is that elementary schools have teachers who are leaders, just without a formal title to go with it. Personally, I love the classroom, and I get my taste of leadership through the work that I do with my unions. I sit across from the board in meetings and try to work with them to make things better for my fellow teachers by sharing my insights into the day-to-day experience. We can all be leaders in some way or another, and I for one, am thankful that you lead by example and share your learning with others as it certainly has made me a better teacher and, more importantly, person.

    • Thanks Melanie for your comment and your kind words! Your comment, along with Manny’s, reminded me of a blog post that Sue Dunlop wrote a while ago. It talks about “classroom leaders.” https://suedunlop.ca/why-we-need-classroom-leaders/ Reading my comment on the post, it looks as though I still thought about leadership roles such as consultants and administrators. Maybe I need to continue to do some thinking about classroom leadership, and the leading that can happen in there during the school year versus my summer leading through camp. Thanks for the reminder! We also need these classroom leaders!

      Aviva

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