Today kicks off Teacher Appreciation Week! I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you the lessons I have learned from teachers that apply to leadership. My wife has been teaching for awhile now.. She has been an outstanding teacher for many years (I am not bias in anyway). This feedback comes straight from the parents, other teachers, her administration and the fact that year after year her students come back to say hi or update her on their progress. Looking at what she does and how she does it is amazing. It got me thinking about some of the teachers I had when I was growing up and in college. So, here is a list of the things that I think leaders could learn from teachers:
- Believe in their students. When did you do your best work? Most of the time you did your best work when you knew that your teacher, your boss or coach believed in you. Knowing that the person of influence believes in you makes it special to you. Your potential is tapped! My wife has high expectations of her students and she knows that they can do it (even if others don’t think so).
- Care about their students success. Completely vested in the students success. I watch and listen to how much my wife cares about each student making progress or better yet exceeding standards. When the test scores come in – she is really excited to see their success. She also is a little disappointed (well, more than a little) when success is only at standard. She has to be reminded that look at the overall progress.
- Love what they teach. The passion for teaching does not come from the money that is made! The passion comes from teaching subjects that they love. Sharing their passion for what they are doing to those that are in the classroom. Ever just sit in the back of a classroom and observe? Let me tell you the great teachers really excel are sharing their passion of that subject.
- Make learning fun. I look at the creative ways that my wife takes lessons and makes them fun for the students. Learning can be fun! It does not have to be drill or ground and pound. Getting the lesson to be fun for the students sets up the learning experience better. For me, the best working environment is a fun environment. I want to come to that place…
- Make learning very partical and useful. One small disclaimer – some subjects are much easier to do this with. The best teachers really explain what they are teaching in a way that the students understand. Once that lightbulb comes on – then that teacher knows they have a student hooked.
Watching my wife and other great teachers over the years, has helped me be better at leading my teams. I look at her classroom from the beginning of the year and thoughout the year til the end – look at the progress of the students, look at the maturity improvements and teamwork that is demonstrated – and say well done! Really, well done!