ETL504 – Leadership journal cont’d.
Leadership in a school is indeed a unique situation. I believe all teachers are leaders in their own right and need to practice instructional leadership in their day to day management of their classroom and students (Marzano, Waters & McNulty, 2005). However it seems that many feel comfortable having the security of a strong leader to refer matters to and confer with.
As this is a personal reflection and journal entry I will share a recent experience in a school I work at as a relief teacher. A female head of school was recently “persuaded” to retire, after being there for many years. During her reign at the school her style of leadership was quite dictatorial. She had a very strong personality and would stride around the school grounds with a most purposeful air about her. It was a standing joke amongst the teaching staff that if you heard her heels coming along the veranda, to “keep your head down and look extra busy”! So I was quite surprised that upon returning to work for my first day after her departure, when talking to my colleagues instead of the expected sense of relief amongst them, there appeared to be a prevailing air of almost bewilderment in some cases. One teacher used the expression that they felt like “no one was steering the ship” and they had “lost their leader”. A new head of school, a male, has been appointed from within the ranks and whilst all agreed he is a very nice person, his leadership style is very different. I would describe it as a combination of transformational and transactional.
Browning (2013) speaks of there being a link between transformational leadership and trust. Interestingly here thus far there does not seem to be the trust for the new head of school that staff members felt unanimously for their past female leader. Whilst there was a certain element of fear towards the old leader, there have been comments that the new leader is not a “strong person” and staff do not feel the sense of security they felt in the past. Perhaps with time this will change. It may well be a case of trust being earned and come with time as their new leader establishes himself. Interesting times ahead…
Browning, P. (2013). Creating the conditions for transformational change. Australian Educational Leader. 35(3) 14-17. Retrieved from
Marzano, R.J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B.A. (2005). Some theories and theorists on leadership. School leadership that works: From research to results (PP. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.:Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. From www.csu.au.eblib.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/patron/Read.aspx