believing in leading

I want to lead.

There. I said it.

Yes, of course, I want to lead by example.

But also, no, I don’t just want to lead by example. Because, if we admit it, that is really just a way to shrink my potential and soften my ambition into a palatable package.

I want to lead by title too.

Or maybe the better way to say that is I want to lead with a title. Through a title.

This is the way I was born. It is. I am a natural leader. Owning that has not always been easy. It’s still not easy. It is utterly. frightening.

I am scared because so many messages throughout my life have conditioned me to be scared. And small.

As a child, my 3rd grade report card had a note from my teacher that “I was too bossy.” Really? That’s what you want to tell my parents about? And would you say that if I was a boy?

As a teenager, I heard a wonderful woman I looked up to say she wanted “the heart of a ministry leader.” This is because she was a woman. And a woman could not be a ministry leader. Only the wife. Only the cheerleader. Only behind the scenes. Only the heart.

As a girlfriend dating in a conservative church, I was told to let my boyfriend speak first. Speak most.

As a newlywed, I was encouraged instructed to let my husband lead. Which means I must follow. The end.

Be quiet. Be submissive. Be invisible. Be supportive. Be less.

So… be not you.

Be anyone BUT you.

Therein lies the problem. I have spent my life not being me in order to be accepted. By men. By church. By society. By god.

And I’m tired of it.

And… it hasn’t even worked?! I always end up in leadership “actions” or “positions” wherever. I. work. Every. single. school. Every. single. time.

Soooooo… hello world, I am coming out. I am stepping into the light. I am arriving. I am living my truth. I am meing.

I want to take care of staff and students. I want a leadership role that focuses on this.

In pursuit of this, I am currently taking leadership courses at the Principals’ Training Center.

And even after a traumatic, pandemic year, every moment of learning in these intensive courses is confirming who I have always been.

Who. I. am.

A leader.

the fault lines of leadership

For all of my career, I have sworn til I was blue in the face that I would not, could not, should not become an administrator. No sir-re-bob, that is not for me. After taking on more of a leadership role this year at school, that stance has only been confirmed.

Though I was coaching last year and assisting another coach with our department, my leadership was, in essence, lateral. I’d like to believe that those I helped because of an official “title” were few, but those I helped because of a desire to be a great teacher were more–hopefully the majority.

This year, though, with more of a presence on and duty to our larger, systematic leadership configurations, I cannot seem to find the good in what I’m doing… whether it’s the good in my teaching, the good in my coaching, the good in my facilitation, the good in my thinking, or the good in my outcomes. I am discouraged by my inability to affect change where I think I should have that capacity. I am overwhelmed with hearing over and over the frustrations from those I care about deeply–the very frustrations that mirror my own–while not being able to do anything to influence the context which perpetuates those frustrations. I am disheartened by the systematic revolving door of external pressures that weigh our administration down, thus weighing down our internal building processes.

All of this sharply reminds me that the problem with education today is not people. Those teachers I am honored to coach; the colleagues I work side by side with in the trenches, who keep me sane; as well as the leadership I follow; these people all weave threads of joy and inspiration and light throughout my days. Rather to blame are the systems that shackle those people. Systems of evaluation. Systems of accountability. Systems of turnarounds and move overs and reach arounds. And we wonder why national teacher attrition is so high and moral so low!

And the straw that breaks the camel’s back is my missing students. Daily I split classes with two remarkable co-teachers, and after 50 minutes of the block, I just walk right out of the door–an exit that feels more emotional than physical. For those of you who have followed my writing here on lifeinthedport, you know that my students are my lifeblood, my purpose, my ministry, my joy. And so to struggle with systematic constraints while simultaneously missing quality time with my own students in my own classroom is literally. killing. me.

And because my career teaching is my identity, the tremors echo throughout all other areas of my life. I have noticed a rise in my anxiety, in my depression. My appetite is ferocious and my clothes tight. I am negative and critical and cynical and complain way too much. I have stopped writing.

Which explains this post, the one that breaks the two-month silence. Not happy, not pretty, but real. And hopefully the beginning of my mapping a way through this new land.

Tried and True Teaching Tools

writing into meaning

gadflyonthewallblog

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Escaping Bars

Writings on Love, Pain, Overcoming, Hope, Longing, Justice, and Injustice

juliaetorres.blog

Strength \ Vision \ Service \ Exploration

A Tree On Fire With Love

But it's still scary sometimes because most people think love only looks like one thing, instead of the whole world

teaching With "Ang-sigh-eh-tea"

The life of a teacher who struggles with anxiety and depression.

Sampa Sympatico

A Yankee Teacher's Experience of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Once Upon a Time in México

Living my dream of teaching, traveling, and discovering culture

Teach. Travel. Taste.

A peek into the life of an American teacher in Colombia

2seetheglobe

Adventures in Globetrotting

Nomad Notions

Tales of Expat Living, Teaching, and Tramping in Taiwan and Beyond.

Sojourners' Journal

“Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people." —Albert Einstein

Pacific East by Middle East by Midwest

Observations and Experiences of Bahrain and Japan

Ex(pat) and the City

The life of a twenty-something Canadian living & teaching in Korea.

ISR Discussion Boards

ISR Discussion Boards are open to site Members & visitors alike. Your Voice Counts!

Teaching & Traveling

The Life of An International Teacher

EAT~PRAY~TRAVEL

THE ADVENTURES OF A NOMADIC EDUCATOR

pedagogyofthereformed

Teaching in Brooklyn in Spite of Everything

Actively Dying

by Peter Fall Ranger

chanyado

by Aleya Kassam

Words Half Heard

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Greatfull

A snapshot of my journey to living each day with gratitude and striving to be full of greatness

tspelczech

"I'm too old to live my life in fear of dumb people." - Charlie Skinner, The Newsroom

Cultivate Clarity

creative writing and mindfulness-based coaching, workshops, and retreats

Crawling Out of the Classroom

In everything that my students and I do together, we strive to find ways to use reading and writing to make the world outside of our classroom a better place for all of us to be

ADVENTURES ON THE YOGA MAT

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Chase Mielke

Author. Speaker. Well-Being Expert.

candidkay

Taking the journey, bumps and all

jenny's lark

the beauty of an ordinary life

Nonlinear Compilations

Parenting, teaching, writing, and learning to find beauty in the present

talk from chalk

What I've learned while teaching

Thoughtful teaching

Thoughts on teaching in the modern world.

Hope, Honor, and Happiness

A blog for the book “Kingdom of the Sun” and discussions on finding the Hope, Honor, and Happiness in education, life, and the seemingly impossible.

Secret Teacher

Life inside the primary classroom

A Confederacy of Spinsters

Sex, Dating, and Surviving Your Twenties

Miss Four Eyes

Seeing twice as much absolutely counts as a super power.

SCC ENGLISH

writing into meaning

Love, laugh, be light

"Re-examine all you have been told. Dismiss what insults your soul." ― Walt Whitman