How Successful People Lead by John C. Maxwell
Teachers are a special kind of leader. We have to lead a classroom full of students who have very diverse needs and attitudes.
I thought reading this book might help me develop further as a leader in education. While it wasn’t written with teachers in mind, I think we can still learn a lot from the wisdom of leaders in business settings too.
Maxwell believes that there are 5 levels of leadership and that successful leaders work their way up to the top echelon.
First Level – Position
Every leader starts in a position that relies solely on their job title. Every time, we start over in a new school, we start all over again on this bottom rung.
Second Level – Permission
After you have proved yourself somewhat, people will follow you because they like who you are and what you do. You have gained respect and earned their permission to lead.
Third Level – Production
People follow you because of what you have been able to accomplish at your school. This is a great one for coaches, music teachers, and anyone who runs an extra-curricular club. These accomplishments are quite visible in the school and people take notice.
Fourth Level – People Development
People follow you because of what you have done for them. Teaching is all about building relationships with students and parents. It is a tough job to get to this level as it takes time and personal attention to the student body (and not just the kids in your own class)
Fifth Level – The Pinnacle
According to the author, some people never reach this level. You can fall down at any level because of poor decisions, moving locations, and small failures. It is a constant building process to make your way up this ladder.
Assessment, Feedback, and Communication
Here’s a quote from the book about relates to feedback and purposeful assessment in the classroom. I have paraphrased it slightly to fit educational purposes.
“Our students should understand their mission. Good teacher never assume that their students understand the mission. Don’t take for granted that they know what you know or believe what you believe. Don’t assume they understand how their talents and efforts are supposed to contribute to the mission of the class and their own learning. Communicate it often.
Students, and their parents, should receive feedback about their performance. People always want to know how they are doing. If they are not succeeding, most of the time, they want to know how to make adjustments to improve and are willing to change if they are convinced it will help them win.”
I love the wording “win” here. Students of all ages want to win. What a great way to think about learning!
Learn All the Time
I constantly learn how to improve my own teaching by trying new methods, reading professional books, and even from books outside of education practice. I hope you have found this post useful. Come back next Tuesday for another dose of inspiration.
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