Leader & Follower- How are you both a leader and a follower in your career?- June 28, 2019

This post is week 3 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators. In this week's post, I will discuss ways that I am both a leader and a follower in my career. Since I have been at ISTE most of week 3- this post will be a little shorter than the prior posts.

How I am a follower in my career?

I am not sure why- but I feel I need to start with this. I believe that every great leader or educator starts by learning or following. But when I use the term, "following," I am not looking at it in a passive way- it is actively engaging in content that others have shared. Here are some of the ways I learn and have learned through following:

  • Listening to Podcasts: As I have shared many times, I am an edupodcast junkie. I loved learning new ideas while listening to podcasts. These podcasts connect me to others in the top of the educational technology field and allow me to learn and grow as a professional.

  • Following others on Twitter: Currently, I am following over 900 people on Twitter. Each of these people are educators that I have determined will provide value to my growth as an educator. They share ideas, experiences and much more.

  • Read educationally relevant books: Reading educationally related books, like listening to podcasts, enable me as a learner, to be exposed to new ideas in more detail. Books like Lead Like a Pirate and Culturize help me to be a better leader, while books like Educated by Design and Innovator's Mindset help me cultivate twenty-first skills in the classrooms in my school.

  • Participating in Twitter chats: Participating in Twitter chats enable me to also learn from others. Some topics I might not be as familiar with and connecting and learning with others builds my capacity.

  • Collaboratively planning with others: Collaboratively planning with others requires me to listen and learn about different points of view. As I listen to others, it can clarify my own point of view or cause me to modify it.

  • Attending educational conferences: We attend educational conferences to not only connect with others, but to learn from experts. Such learning experiences help me learn and grow as an educator.

How I am a leader in my career?

As I wrote the " follower" section, it really struck me, how many of the ways that I am a follower, I am also a leader. Sometimes these are in different contexts, sometimes they are the same. To me, I am a leader when I take content, synthesize it and then share it in a new way, Here are some of the ways I am and have been a leader:

  • Participating in podcasts: Not only do I listen to podcasts, but I have gotten the opportunity to participate in them as well. By posting to twitter hashtags for podcasts and sharing my new learning, I act as a leader. This spring, I got the opportunity to be a guest on Invitations to Learn and was a featured speaker on EduDuctTape. This summer, I will also get to be a guest on Get Inspired and Learn and in the future, EduMagic.

  • Sharing my learning with others on Twitter: When I post what my students or teachers are doing on Twitter, I act as a leader. I also get to retweet learning of others so that my followers can learn. Currently, I have about 630 followers. I hope the content I share is valuable to them and helps their journeys.

  • Posting reflections on my website and blog: Working on my website and blog is another way I am a leader. This platform allows me to share in a far more comprehensive style what I am doing to lead the culture in my school. It also models how great leaders can always grow.

  • Participating in Twitter chats: Participating in Twitter chats enable me to share my learning with others. It allows me to share my experiences so that others can learn from them.

  • Collaboratively planning with others: Collaboratively planning with others requires me to share my strengths and ideas as part of the process. As I share my ideas, it helps to build a more collaborative culture.

  • Sharing at educational conferences: We attend educational conferences to not only connect with others, but to share our experiences and knowledge with others. As I share at educational conferences whether formally or informally, it helps others as they have helped me.

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