The difference between leadership and management has for a long time been subject to debate, however what if we question the difference between a leader and a teacher, or even a leader and learner.
So why are we called teachers?
For a long time I have thought that the title teacher seems a little inaccurate when you think about what we are trying to achieve. If a child came home and said Mum two plus four is six and you questioned how they knew that, they might say “because my teacher” taught or told me. However hopefully more accurately what they might say is that they were given the resources and ideas to prove and show in different ways beyond doubt, that two plus four is six. They know and trust this because they led their own learning.
These are uncertain times for everyone not least our learners who are the leaders of the world of tomorrow. At Dab, students experience so many opportunities to lead in different ways. Children may be a line leader, in charge of the class library, on the student council, a house captain the list goes on and every child has the opportunity to and displays different leadership qualities and skills. Everybody leads in different ways and we can all think of leaders in the world or that we have met that we inspire to be and those who perhaps we inspire to be different from.
A wonderful and inspiring book about Education and Leadership by Benjamin Zander always helps remind me of what I am trying to achieve as I lead my children. In fact Mr. Zander who works in music education is also a conductor of an orchestra. Perhaps conductor is an even better way to think of our role as put simply, we guide and it is the children who produce and hit the high notes. In his book the ‘Art of Possibility’ Mr. Zander discusses the idea that we can all achieve whatever we want to and be whatever we want to be, we are authors or conductors of our own story. Mr. Zander also refers to the importance for a leader to create ‘shining eyes’, a spark and inspiration. Mr. Zander also cites that we must have the courage and mindset to say ‘how fascinating’ to our misconceptions which a leader should also encourage in those they lead.
A great leader should be reflective, as our children are within all areas of our curriculum, not least in IPC where we are regularly using rubrics and thinking about what we did well but more importantly what can we do better. 2020 has reinvented the world and how we do things and we have all had to look in the mirror and think about what we can do better, differently or more efficiently. As classroom leaders and as parents of the leaders of tomorrow’s unknown world and occupations, we must continuously reflect on how we can build on the successes we are creating in our learners. We must also be honest and open-minded enough to think, I could have led them better and reflect on how.
Within our Early Years setting we teach very much ‘in the moment’ (pictures below). Children’s interests, passion and inspiration lead the learning and our classroom leaders are flexible, creative and adapt to these interests. This continues into Year 1 with independent and collaborative enquiry opportunities. Leaders are also mindful of the ever changing world and that now more than ever there are worries which leaders can address and share.
In the photograph above are three of our inspiring leaders Maria (Year 1 Sharks), Franek (Year 1 Dolphins) and Freddie (Year 1 Whales). Having been given a blank canvas by our inspirational IPC leader Mr. Holmes, these three students, along with many other entrants, created their own PLG superheroes. These superhero creations will lead and guide us using, explaining and representing our Personal Learning Goals.
As you will see, leadership is about inspiration and at The British School Warsaw inspiring leaders are everywhere.
Henry W Guyler
Year 1 Sharks Teacher
Year Level Leader
Assistant Head (Pastoral, Communications and Logistics)