At one of our most recent staff meetings, we were asked a series of questions regarding our opinions on what it meant to be a leader. One of the questions asked us to consider whether or not we agreed with the following statement:
It is better to lead with your head rather than your heart.
For those of you who know me personally, you may be inclined to believe that I chose the former to be true rather than the latter. But the truth is, one of the tenants that I believe to be resoundingly true within our work in our classrooms is that a successful classroom is one where our heart is always on our sleeve. The love that we show our children is paramount to the successes they feel and experience as well as the success we feel.
Please do not confuse my notion of heart with pity or lowered expectations – true love within a classroom means fundamentally believing that our students can and will meet the goals that we set with them. It means knowing when to pull back and knowing when to let go (but through it all, smiling and providing hugs).
When I talk to my teachers I see and feel the love they have for their students and for their classrooms. And yes, sometimes that love is hidden beneath the ever present frustrations of an unsuccessful lesson or quiz scores that don’t quite show the growth we expected – but at the core of their work is love.
I had the immense privilege of talking to the district leaders in the areas I support today and the resounding message was how impressed they were by the conviction, passion and relentless work my teachers are putting into their classrooms for their kids each and every day. I wish that I could take even partial credit for this – but the truth is, my teachers are amazing individuals. They are doing the most challenging work any one of us could do and because of this, I am continuously reminded of the potential each of us has in positively affecting the lives of kids.