When visiting a YHIS alumni family in Ann Arbor this summer, I came across a local delicatessen, Zingerman's. It's a gourmet food business group that sells numerous items from made-to-order sandwiches to estate-bottled Tuscan olive oil. What caught my eye was a tall rack of books, most of them on leadership, management, and human relationship, in the middle of the busy food store. Justine, my hostess, explained that the biggest success of Zingerman's was that they've built a unique and convincingly appealing culture centered around people. "Servant leadership," she said, "was a term I first heard from Zingerman's."
Servant leadership, a term I heard long ago, has thus been deliciously and timely refreshed for me.
In a recent issue of Educational Leadership, editor Anthony Rebora explained that servant leadership is an approach that is based in large part on listening and humility. Leadership is not about knowing – it's about listening, getting the right information, and then making a judgement. Coupled with well-integrated core values, he suggested, this kind of stewardship can help leaders become better attuned to systemic needs and undercurrents, and to understand that issues are often deeper or more complex than they might appear on the surface.
As someone who is adapting to a new leadership position, I've found this advice inspiring.
For those who are interested, here are some beginning-of-school-year goals that YHIS teachers set for themselves:
- "I want to promote cross-talk as interactive classrooms full of talk are associated with greater learning."
- "I'm eager to implement what I've learned from Startalk this summer to classroom teaching this year."
- "I want to listen to and observe my students, read them like a book, and strive to really understand them."
- "I will make more concentrated efforts in differentiation."
- "I will utilize science phenomena in lessons!"
- "I want my students to remember me as a principled yet caring teacher."
- "I hope to be a teacher who my students enjoy being with and who makes a difference for each child."
- "I want to involve parents more, in every way possible."
We are off to a great start and I have no doubt that we will have an amazing school year, full of wonder, joy and accomplishment!