Teacher-librarians are middle leaders, involved in influencing change with staff members and with leadership. Leadership for the teacher-librarian also relates to advocacy as they use their ability to support the goals of others to build trust. A reflection on my initial thoughts of teacher-librarian leadership can be found here.
The case-studies provided an opportunity to explore scenarios requiring different aspects of leadership and change management. During the first group case-study, I fell into the leadership role. This was because the group agreed to my interpretation of the scenario. I used distributed leadership to suggest that group members choose a section of my interpretation to expand and relate to readings. I was a subtle leader, and open to opinions from others. The positive views of the team to my response helped me see that I was on the right track with my learning, and that my contribution was valuable. Distributed leadership was used consistently throughout the case-studies. Discussions were initiated by the same team member. Individually we identified an issue of interest or which needed more depth and worked on this to contribute to the final product.
The scenario presented for the case-studies was intricate and involved different personality types we could possibly work with. My teacher-librarian experiences have only been in teams of two. In both cases our personalities and ways of working complemented each other and there was no conflict. Because of this, I found the scenarios to be very helpful. I can now come up with a stronger response to conflict resolution questions in interviews!
Through the module content and case-studies I now have a more thorough understanding of how different leadership styles can impact a school culture and staff willingness to participate in change (Smith, 2016). I have subconsciously been applying different leadership styles to my principals in previous employment and also reflecting on how different initiatives have been presented to staff for implementation.
During Module 2 I connected with transformational and distributed leadership, as describe here. Because of this, these styles have been the basis of my assessments. When working with a library team or faculty it is necessary for there to be a shared vision, collaborative culture, and appreciation of efforts (Smith, 2016). These form the basis of transformational leadership. In the same situations, being able to share tasks and expertise helps increase staff involvement and reduce burnout. Case-study 6 emphasised the importance of the teacher-librarian using these leadership styles to implement change.
In reflecting on change implementation, I considered what steps I may need to take in my next TL role. I suggest change away from NIT library time to collaborative inquiry over 1-2 years. This ensures there is time for planning, completing trial units, gathering support, and building understanding of the change and pedagogy. I would be hopeful that with slow, considered implementation change fatigue can be avoided and staff can have their voices heard.
Leadership and the teacher-librarian are integral to a smooth running of the library and to ensuring an expansion to 21st century curriculum, pedagogy and learning. Through leading from the middle and implementing leadership and change strategies, the teacher-librarian can influence both the teaching staff and the leadership team. This is important for the smooth implementation of any new initiatives.
Smith, B. (2016). The role of leadership style in creating a great school. SELU Research Review Journal, 1(1), 65-78. Retrieved from www.selu.usask.ca