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Instructional Leader or Good Teacher, is it a Dichotomy?

Shawn Davids:

So in trying to reconcile this internal conflict, I have realized a few things. Maybe you don't need to be a great teacher to be an impactful and positive instructional leader. I know I talk to my entire staff about the fact that we all have different roles that are of equal importance to the success of our students. Teachers, support staff, secretaries, custodians and administrators simply play different parts in ensuring learning occurs and students are successful. So maybe that means I don't have to be a great teacher to have an impact as an instructional leader. Maybe it means I can help cultivate great teachers so they can have the maximum impact on student learning. And maybe being an okay teacher for the small percentage I do teach is less important that honing my skills as an educational leader when it comes to impacting the overall culture of our school.

I deal with this internal conflict as well. One thing that I know is that I (or any principal) cannot be the fountain of all knowledge. If I am, it all depends on me. What I really believe our teachers need is not someone who knows everything, but someone who can help them find their greatness inside themselves.

I need to be a good teacher, and I need to be able to recognize good teaching, but I also need to be able to recognize when I don't have the answer, and direct a teacher within themselves, or to an outside resource to help them.

It is about more than whether or not I am a good teacher. Being a good instructional leader is more about allowing teachers to feel comfortable getting feedback, knowing that I am not judging them, but constantly pushing them to be their best selves.