Module 2.3 Leadership attributes
Think about strategies to take you from TL, the keeper and stamper of the books and the quiet space library, to becoming something different. Make a set of notes using your new understandings to support your arguments and conclusions.
Each of the readings has provided me with a better understanding of what makes a good leader. A key theme throughout the leadership styles (that resonated with me), was vision. I currently hold a key position in my school, as Head of Library and Information Services. This position was ‘gifted’ to me, through the resignation my predecessor, and little interest expressed in the community for her advertised role. As an experienced English and French teacher, I approached my principal to express my interest in the role. To be honest, I would have been happy for the role of the Teacher Librarian, without having to be made Head of this wonderful department. I am not ambitious nor career driven, but I do love literature, reading and learning. My principal believed I had the skills and interest alone, to fulfil the role adequately.
But when I commenced my position, I knew immediately that I did not want to be just the ‘keeper and stamper of books’ and manage a ‘quiet space’. Our library is anything but quiet! As my predecessor was retirement age, her ideas were very different to my own. Whilst I respected her immensely, I wanted to be the driver of change and thought about how I could do that. Hence, my commencement of my studies in this Masters! According to Gleeson (2016), I needed to articulate a clear vision. I need to really think about how I was going to make our library a place that nurtured love and learning and supported those that used it.
I am proud (but not arrogant) to say, that I have been performing as a leader in some ways, without even realising it. I wanted our library to be the learning hub of the school. I wanted to support my students and staff in their research endeavours. I wanted the library to be a safe haven for students on the ‘fringe’. I wanted our library to thrive. And it does, it really does.
- I do make myself visible. A shy person by nature, I have (with great nerves) stood up on assembly and addressed over 800 people about the importance of reading and the launch of our Book Buzz feed, an initiative that encourages students to review their favourite books that I share on different media platforms
- I present at staff days to the entire teaching community, showing them how to navigate our research databases and how to search effectively
- I go into classrooms and support research lessons and activities
- I present in staff meetings about copyright, and model this implicitly when I publish material (on the school intranet) that acknowledges authors and images
- I am on the Curriculum committee so that I may liaise with staff and keep a bird’s eye view on the curriculum
But I was only able to achieve this by establishing a sense of trust. Moir, Hattie and Jansen (2014) maintain that to develop leadership capacity, you need to understand what the organisation values are and build your vision from there.
I know I still have an awful lot to learn. But that’s okay. My role as teacher librarian will continue to evolve as we as educators adapt to global considerations and 21st century education. What I want to continue to embrace are the challenges that come with this incredible job, and continue to provide a range of services to my school community.
Gleeson, B. (2016, November 9). 10 unique perspectives on what makes a great leader. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2016/11/09/10-unique-perspectives-on-what-makes-a-great-leader/#e9753b25dd19
Moir, S., Hattie, J. & Jansen, C. (2014). Teacher perspectives of ‘effective’ leadership in schools. Australian Educational Leader, 36(4), 36-40.