Thursday 3 December 2015

Building Community, Building Capacity

In an interview with Jenny Lewis from New South Wales, Australia, Jenny states that good leadership is "bringing the place together and having a core focus". In essence, creating a community that people want to belong to. Cultivating a positive school community isn't always easy but is worth every ounce of effort.

A school is a place that in most country children 'must'  attend for a given number of years. Teaches come to work each day and administration are expected to lead the school's vision forward. The focus of a school community should always be the teaching and learning of their students. But there are many approaches to take in doing this. I believe that a good leader leads through modelling best practice, enthusiasm for teaching and learning and building relationships.

A strong leader understands that at the heart of any community or organization lies the relationships it is built upon. Nurturing these positive relationships are essential to moving forward. Without people who feel comfortable and confident in a leader's ability, the battle to move forward likely will be short-lived. Building a community where people want to come together and support each other will help not only the students but teachers grow and learn together. As a leader, one of the challenging tasks is remaining positive and optimistic through every incident that occurs. However, positivity breeds more positivity and creating a community where these feelings thrive is essential.

The reason schools exist is the learning for students. A good educational leader must be enthusiastic and share a love of learning themselves. A leader support others in creating a welcoming and safe environment for the students to take risks in their learning and inquire. But the learning must not stop with the students. Every member of the community must see the value in up-skilling themselves and trying new things. Students need to see their teachers as role models who continue to learn as well. Further to this, learning needs to radiate farther to every member of the community as building capacity always for knowledge and growth. A good leader understands that by building capacity in all members of the school community whether parents, teachers, teaching assistant or administration, it promotes life-long learners and a community that values each member and their contributions.

In education, often leaders become restricted to an office, tied down with paperwork and 'putting out fires'. It is important for the educational leaders of our schools to stay true to the reasons they got into education and lead by example in the classroom and around the school. I love seeing administration in the classroom with the students leading learning and learning together. This view is so optimistic for the whole school community, especially our students. It shows our students that everyone is still learning and growing, that students and their learning is the number one priority in the school and that inspiring students through education is the responsibility of every member of the community.

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