Thursday, September 27, 2018

Leaders are Readers

My PLN friend David Guerin (@davidguerin) once tweeted to me that "Leaders are Readers."  The phrase has stuck with me ever since.  Just this past summer, I set a goal for myself to read 5,500 pages because, after years of being sidetracked having children and life in general, I desperately needed to get back into the groove of becoming an avid reader once again.

As I read book after book, I found myself learning more about myself.  Some of the many important "stakes in the ground" are these:

1.  Reading strengthens you as a professional.  It is undeniable that many of us get stuck in the day-to-day managerial tasks that push us away from reading.  It is, however, our moral imperative to read as much as possible and to be constant learners.  Our children deserve this.

2.  Reading exponentially increases your empathy.  I read countless numbers of fiction among the stack of PD books to mix it up.  I found strength in strong characters that morally stood up against evil but on another hand found myself angry at how often atrocities repeat itself throughout history.

This empathy made me approach people and situations with softer mannerisms.  Reading taught me kindness and to first seek to understand people without judging them.  Everyone is carrying a weight on their own shoulder.

3. Reading gave me many hidden lessons in leadership.  After reading so many books, I found that what I might find to be trivial, could mean the whole world to someone else.  As a leader, it is important to validate every person's concern.  What to you might seem like a small problem, could mean a bigger issue for someone else.

4. Reading made me appreciate what I have. Many protagonists in novels that I read dealt with so much trauma, had so little and dealt with it all with grace.  This made me reflect on the importance of striking a balance in all aspects of my life and made me be more grateful for every opportunity offered to me. 

5. Reading grows your creativity as a problem-solver.  I take comfort in reading and consider it as my superpower.  Every book I read was a gem that helped shape my way of thinking and has helped me developed and grow my creativity.  I am hoping to instill this in my students.  This year, I am including books to have them read for pleasure and am having them blog as a reflective tool.  It is my sincere wish that they too secretly find the world of reading to be immensely fulfilling.

To end this post, I am continuing the challenge to myself to read more and grow as a leader.  The two books that I want to read is Rethinking Homework (2nd Ed.) by Cathy Vatterott.  I find the debate about homework fascinating and hope to learn more about it.  Many stressors arise from homework and I feel it necessary to learn more about the issue as an entry point to examining the bigger picture of assessment and curriculum.

Second is a bit of a heavier "textbook" read, called The Principal's Guide to Special Education (3rd Ed) by Bateman.  This book I chose in particular after I attended a conference where students spoke openly about how frustrated they were in not being able to understand their accommodations.  To me, we have to do better.

In conclusion, please tweet me book suggestions to add to my ever growing lists of books to read.  I absolutely love recommendations.  Below are a few books that I have ordered and hope to dive into in the near future.  Happy Reading!

What I Wish for You