THE (OVERLOOKED) IMPORTANCE OF GOVERNANCE IN A YOUNG EDUCATOR’S TOOLBOX
I don’t need to tell you that being a leader in a K-12 setting is complicated…
BY DAVID RAWSON
David Rawson is a Frank Knox Fellow and master’s candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has been a secondary school languages teacher in Australia for four years and was chairperson of his school’s assessment improvement committee. He is visiting the United States as a Fulbright Scholar to learn more about educational leadership and school assessment.
I don’t need to tell you that being a leader in a K-12 setting is complicated.
In the politically charged workplace of schools, stepping into any kind of administrative role often brings with it the burden of leading colleagues while working closely with the senior leadership team. Having to sit comfortably both between and within these two different (and sadly often combative) groups takes a skilled and diplomatic manager. To do so when you are the youngest teacher in the building heightens these challenges tenfold.
“You’ve got rocks in your head!” my grandfather declared when I told him that, as a third-year teacher, I had accepted my principal’s offer to lead a committee of six teachers in reforming assessment policies and processes schoolwide.
There were times when I thought my grandfather might be right. But for many ambitious young teachers, putting up your hand for leadership can feel necessary, especially as we see talented young professionals leave teaching for more lucrative careers. Without seeking opportunities to lead, we worry that the first day in the classroom might look just like the last day before retirement.