Michael Fullan recently spent a day with a group of ‘aspiring leaders’ from our primary and secondary schools. These are teachers and coordinators, identified by their principals as leaders of learning.
There was an incredible buzz in the room; a sense that all things are possible when teachers share the responsibilty and accountability for learning. What surprised and touched the leadership team was an expressed empathy for the role of principal. Fullan likens school leadership to the expeditions of Shackleton and Scott. Both heading for the same destination but each driven by different ambitions.
Shackleton was a true leader: single-minded, egalitarian, responded well in a crisis and was committed to preserving the team. On the other hand, Scott was the antithesis: ambitious, arrogant and prepared to risk the lives of his team for personal glory. It is fascinating that the history books are now questioning Scott’s status as a hero.
The point that Fullan makes about building leadership capacity is that it requires us to be non-judgmental – we focus on continous improvement in our work rather than labelling weaknesses. We build on the strengths of the team and support each other in the journey.
That is what we are working hard to do within and across our system of schools and I was excited by the enthusiasm and talent of our aspiring leaders. Click here to watch my discussion with three primary teachers: Kylie Clark, Jodie Milligan and Megan Owens.
As one said, ‘it takes a team to educate a child’.