So I ask? What is the big deal with being a teacher-leader? Meaning, why, when asked, are teachers so afraid to say how awesome they really are. And to go further, why, do most refuse to talk about the awesome things they are doing with kids?
We all know in our buildings and districts those amazing teachers. Those teachers that truly believe it is not about them, that it is about the kids. We identify them as teacher leaders but most would refuse the title. They believe they are doing what is best and they do it every day. My issue is why not, humbly at least, admit they are leaders. What is the problem with that?
The problem is the group I call "The Others." They are the ones in the building who see their classroom as a means of survival. It is what pays the bills and keeps them feed. They are the ones who honestly could care less about what happens to their students. We know who they are and we have to admit they exist. "The Others," unfortunately are often times the one with some power and clout in the building. They have this belief that their opinion matters and if you fall outside of what they consider acceptable, well, your time in the building may be miserable. "The Others" are often backed up by an unknown administration or an administration unwilling to see there is a problem with the culture in the school.
So because teacher leaders want to to be seen as going against "The Others" they stay silent. Yes their kids are amazing, and there are still amazing things happening in those classrooms, it rarely makes it out into the mainstream culture of the building.
Look, there is nothing wrong with awesome educating. In fact we need more teachers to stand up and talk about what they are doing. You are tooting your own horn, you are simply saying, that what you are doing is working and it might work for someone else.
No one wants to listen to someone with a huge ego. So you can't go around saying how wonderful you are and how great you are. And that isn't a leader anyway. A leader is one who inspires others. One who has vision and helps the other members of the organization reach that vision. A leader is one who listens to others and the needs of the organization and isn't afraid to make a change when things are not on the right path. Leaders are reflective.
We need to encourage those around us who are these teacher-leaders to stand up and not be silent when asked how they are leaders. Of course we want them to point to others, but lets get them to start pointing at themselves. It's not about ego, it's about kids. And kids deserve the best teacher leaders in their classrooms.