It has been written that great leaders are remembered for their ability to cultivate change, create a culture for success, and earn trust. Many have penned that great teachers are remembered for their ability to show genuine care, respect, and to set high expectations for all.
Whether you are a principal, teacher, or DCE, you set high standards for yourselves and others. Why? Standards help nurture growth and develop potential in one-self and others. Standards encourage us to reflect, are a means to guide our effort, and further assist to adjust our practice.
Leadership and teaching are not easy tasks. Leading and teaching are enormous responsibilities. Both require a tremendous commitment of time, energy, and effort. Both require much preparation. Both require particular skills and dispositions as well.
Educational research is replete with articles about qualities and skills of successful leaders and teachers. I am sure that you could include a few skills and qualities from those you have observed, have emulated, and have trusted over time.
Integrity, consistency, fairness, receptiveness, and punctuality are just a few dispositions worth mentioning. Assessing, analyzing data, differentiating out essential from non-essential content, making effective use of class time, and using and matching instructional strategies at the appropriate time and with appropriate content are integral skills for a lesson to flow and have meaning for students.
Three dispositions and one skill paramount for leading and teaching are as follows:
Passion: Passionate leaders and teachers are exciting to be around. It is if they awaken qualities and emotions deeply buried within ourselves, impinging upon the hearts and minds of others to join us on the journey.
Conviction: Convicted leaders and teachers are compelled to strive for excellence and advance the Gospel message. That conviction renders a work effort that imparts knowledge and wisdom – content and catechesis – that prepares students for a future vocation and service to God and others. Such conviction compels leaders and teachers to enter schools and classrooms with a definite purpose in mind – lead and teach. They know where they want to go and how to get there, providing the best possible Christian instruction to those they serve.
Faithful: Faithful leaders and teachers take much joy in being “Sowers of the Seed.” They trust in God’s promises and rely on the Holy Spirit to strengthen the faith of those entrusted to their care. Understanding and looking for those practical intersections of the right and left-hand kingdoms of God to teach makes Lutheran schools distinct from other private and public educational places.
Reflection: Reflection affords leaders and teachers that opportunity to gauge the organizational and instructional effectiveness of process and purpose. By doing so, such retooling can lead toward a more intentional and explicit focus for renewal and accountability.
As the school year draws to a quick close, daily instruction in our classrooms will stop and youth events will happen less often during the months of summer.
Now is that time to recharge and reflect back on your leading or teaching. Did your passion, conviction, faithfulness, and reflection reveal in yourself and others hidden talents and joyous moments of Christian service?
My prayer for you is that your Christian service continues to burn deeply in your heart and in your Christian Calling as a commissioned minister now and in years to come.
May God bless you and your ministry!
Singh, Delar K., & Stoloff, David L. (2008. Assessment of Teacher Dispositions. College of Student Journal, 42(4), 1-10.
Okpala, Comfort O., & Ellis, Richard. (2005) The Perceptions of College Students on teacher Quality: A Focus On Teacher Qualifications. Education, 126, 374-379