Saturday, November 19, 2011

Captain of the team

Over the last two months of school, I've been reflecting upon the leadership in our school.  There are many leaders in our building who are a part of teams or committees, but oftentimes their leadership stops there.  These leaders often don't extend beyond these specific groups.  I've begun to wonder how I can facilitate theses leaders so that they can see that they are a bigger part of our school team.  Everyone in a school has specific responsibilities and adding leadership to these responsibilities should not be seen as an extra duty.  It's a part of our jobs as educators to lead within our classrooms, our grade levels or content areas, our school, and our district.  Having one leader who is the only "go to" person, in my opinion, isn't practical.  We are all educational leaders whether we have a title or not.
I had a great discussion about this with one of my teachers the other day and came up with an analogy that rang true for us as we have both coached basketball.  We discussed the difference between a coach and a captain.  I equated a coach to the way that principals used to be perceived in schools.  They were in charge of any and every decision.  We felt that principals now play more of the role of a captain.  The captain on the basketball team knows what every player is supposed to be doing and directs them while they are on the court.  They don't tell everyone what to do, but they do expect the players to know their job and to do it to the best of their ability.  They also cannot play everyone's position, either due to height, quickness, court vision, or a variety of other reasons.  The captain knows a good basketball play when they see one.
The principal in a school is like the captain of a basketball team in the same regard.  He or she expects the teachers to do their job to the best of their ability.  They can't teach every class or content area but they know a good teacher when they see one.
I struggle from time to time when the teachers who work with me call me boss.  For some reason the term boss has a negative connotation for me.  I always remind our staff that I am a co-worker.  I'm responsible for everything that goes on in our school but I also rely upon each one of the teachers and staff members I work with every day.  We all have to work together to be successful, just like the players on a basketball team.  If everyone on a basketball team plays to the best of their ability, the team has a much better chance of being successful.  The captain is there to make sure that the team is all going in the same direction.
The same is true of a school.  Everyone has a role to play in our school and they all do their best.  I am there to make sure that the teachers are all  working toward the same goal of educating every child, just like the captain on a basketball team.  I am hopeful that the staff I work with considers me more of a basketball captain than an old time basketball coach.