The Power of Strong Teachers

Yesterday I participated in a presentation to a group of teachers who are aspiring to become principals. Slide1

We talked about what it means to transition from the classroom to administration, the roles of school leadership, and the to-do’s of interviewing for openings.

One of the teachers asked me: “How do I answer the question, ‘What do you have to bring to our team that will improve our school?'” She explained the question bothered her because it seemed to imply she was expected to know what was broken or wrong with the school and how she should fix it.

I asked her to think, instead, about the strengths she has that make her successful as a teacher. Highlighting your strengths is not bragging. It is sharing what qualities you possess that can help add value to whatever group or organization you are joining.

While I was giving advice, I also reminded the group of their most powerful strength. I delivered this news like a would to a group of students. “Listen to me, please, and let me see your faces.”

Everyone paused and met my eyes.

“You need to remember that when you step into any group of people, you have a power to communicate, persuade, and influence because you are a teacher. Don’t ever forget how powerful that is. You have the ability to capture the attention of children or teenagers. Adults are no different. Look at every situation as a potential classroom because teachers have the power to influence any setting they are in.”

With that thought in mind, I want to highlight a story of a super-star teacher from right here in the state of Oklahoma. This week NPR began a series on 50 Great Teachers, and it began with the interview of a Drumright High School teachers, Sarah Hagan. Check out her blog here.

The 8 minute recorded interview is incredibly inspiring and will also remind you why our state governments should prioritize even more state funding to help schools recruit and retain quality educators across the state.

As you face this next season of school, don’t forget the power you carry to influence others. It’s not just a worthy calling, it can also be a fantastic one.

Now It’s Your Turn
What ways are you reminding yourself and others that what you do really matters? Share some of those stories with the rest of us.

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker