Narrative on Teacher Leadership
The leader that has been in my mind lately is George Washington Carver. His most distinguishing trait was that he lived beyond his circumstances. As an African-American in a time in our nation’s history when that didn’t mean much, he was an artist, botanist, and ultimately a brilliant chemist. He was very kind to those around him, thoughtful in his work, devoted to his adopted school where he practiced and taught early chemistry, and lived an honorable life.
Yes, I do consider myself a leader and specifically a teacher leader. I am a leader by leading my peers in our Computer Applications I curriculum, being a member of our MTAC committee, and voicing my opinions on important matters. I try to always backup my opinions with reasoning though.
I am very fortunate to have two excellent supporters of teachers directly over me. Both the CTE Director and the school Principal both support teachers. They used to be teachers and still remember the trials of the daily grind. Our CTE Director even has his office at my school and not at the county office.
Increasingly, I am getting less and less support from other faculty and staff. I think this is partly because of the work climate at my school and of course the workload. I can’t speak for other teacher leaders as they may be getting more support, but in general the morale is low and that tends to make people quiet on voicing their support.
Teaching really chose me. My father was a teacher and my first job out of college was teaching. I didn’t go to college to teach, but I find that it is very palatable to me. So much of my life was spent learning and enjoying the process that I am naturally at home in a school environment.
Not to be too pessimistic, but there are few jobs in my county for anyone with an advanced degree and I didn’t want to move elsewhere. I also hate change. I realize that some change is good, but I also recognize that not all change is for the better. So, once I got into teaching I was satisfied and didn’t really feel driven to seek other employment.
I am very proud to say that I have been invited to present at the North Carolina CTE Summer Conference now for three years running. I present on advanced Web Page topics suitable for teachers of the e-Commerce classes.
I don’t know where I want to be in five years. I’m torn between my love for my current school and my frustration with the climate in my county. It is becoming increasingly intolerable, many good teachers are leaving, morale is low, the current sophomore and junior classes have been more than difficult to teach, and nobody seems to be listening to or trying to fix any of the problems that are so evident at my level. So, I don’t know where I want to be. Actually, I do enjoy teaching my programming classes and I think I would make a good Technology Director, but I don’t want to have to travel too far to my job site. Right now, I am only 10 minutes away. I also don’t want to be stuck doing what I’m doing for another 20 years. I also want the opportunity for advancement and there isn’t any here. Again, I’m very torn.
I would hope that they would remember me as a teacher that truly cared for them. I also want to be remembered as someone who knew his craft well, loved it, and shared that love. I want my students to be exposed to things that are bigger than they are so that they will realize their potential. I love coaxing out that sparkle in a student’s eye when they understand something for the first time. I want to be remembered for helping them discover a love for something in their life – a passion that they never lose.