Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Servant Leadership: Extend to Colleagues and Leaders

When I first learned about servant leadership, I grew the practice with families and students in mind. I see myself as a servant to the families and children in my charge--I want to do all I can to support each and everyone of them.

Servant leadership in schools translates into actions including these:
  • When families and students have questions, I take those questions seriously.
  • When families and students question a practice or routine, I think with them about how we might revise the structure to better accommodate all.
  • I regularly design and redesign lessons to meet students' needs and interests.
  • I put children first during classroom and school efforts.
To teach well however you have to extend servant leadership to colleagues and leaders too. How do you serve your colleagues and leaders? What do you do to contribute to them in order to help everyone develop and employ their effort in ways that matter?

Servant leadership in this regard requires the following actions:
  • Careful listening
  • Respectful discussion and debate
  • Collaboration
  • Anticipating collegial or leadership needs and interests
  • Follow-through
As schools move towards greater collaboration, many of us, including me, have to revisit our mindset in this regard. We have to think about new ways to work together, change structures, and update routines to foster good collaboration and effort with regard to serving every child well.

I am keenly aware of this as our new shared teaching model extends its efforts to include all assistants and specialists who support our team. At first I hoped they would just follow our lead, but then I realized that's impossible since our early model work did not include the expectations that make up their job descriptions, responsibilities, and efforts since those are roles we don't do or fully know well. 

Now we'll work to look for ways to update our communication, collaboration, and teaching efforts so that the shared model includes their expectations as well. 

This is all part of moving schools forward to best teach and serve children well. Onward.