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.
Reading the most lovely email from a staff member reminds me of the need to build a school community that includes all members of the community (ie, teachers, ECEs, EAs, secretaries, caretakers, admin, support staff, and parents). It really does take a village to raise a child.
— Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca) August 16, 2018
Received the most lovely “thank you” card from a parent today! Reminder about the value of kind words and connections with kids and parents. Many thanks!
— Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca) August 17, 2018
— Sharon Stephanian (@SStephanian) August 17, 2018
These three leaders ran three great sites of Camp Power. The staff moral was positive and encouraging. I know because I witnessed this at each site. Your leadership is second to none. Way to be you three. Nia:wen Miigwetch thank you for being you!
— Brionne Asham (@NyawehSWC) August 18, 2018
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 summer. How 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.