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Confessions of a control freak

I have a confession to make. I am kind of a control freak.

Woo. That feels good to get off the chest.

Actually, my tendency to take charge is not really a secret to anyone who knows me. I’ve always been a natural leader. When I was a kid, I was often found corralling other kids on the playground into elaborate games of pretend. As an adult, I have taken multiple personality inventories and the results are always the same. I am a fiery red, a true north. I thrive on getting work done and achieving goals. Some call me efficient. Others call me bossy.

When I began my teaching career fourteen years ago, I was flattered by how many people saw this trait in me and asked me to lead in a variety of contexts: curriculum revision groups, instructional leadership teams, the prom planning committee. Then I realized something. In schools, a teacher with leadership traits doesn’t get asked to lead because there is a sense that that she is uniquely gifted for the task she is being asked to do. She is asked to lead because someone thinks she will say yes. Again, and again, and again.

A model of leadership that favors individual leaders vs. a model that values collective voice creates a whirlpool effect that is hard to escape. Those whose leadership style is readily apparent are also typically the kind of people to say yes to opportunities. This leads to the unfortunate pattern of a small group of teachers being asked to do all of the leadership work. This is bad for both the teachers who say yes, as they often burnout, and for the teachers who are never asked, as their voices and talents are often underutilized.

So what are the solutions?

Teachers must have agency in decisions.

Schools have to value teacher voice in decision making beyond seeking a rubber stamp for decisions that have already been made. Many of the committees I have served on were venues for administrators or politicians to share their plans or policies without much consideration of the perspective or input of the teachers they were speaking to. My voice was only valuable if it agreed with the voices who were speaking from the front of the room.

Rethink traditional leadership structures.

Currently, the only leadership opportunities that exist in my traditional high school are seats on various committees. These committees do important work. However, they aren’t always doing the work that is most important. Thankfully, my peers have pushed hard to make sure that they are venues for discussion and decision making, but a being on the budget committee offers little incentive for innovation when the ultimate power to decide how money is spent lies beyond our pay grade.

Schools should allow leadership to be organic and inclusive, building on natural strengths and talents. 

Instead of having set committees, schools should allow leadership to be organic and inclusive. Instead of an individual coming to a group with a solution in mind, teachers should begin by brainstorming the problems that impact instruction and the school community. Then teachers can self-select the work that they feel best suited to participate in. These leadership teams could work with their chosen problem and allow all participants to share in the process of devising solutions that benefit all stakeholders.

Have you "voluntold" someone to lead? Stop. 

We have to stop volun-telling teachers to lead. While this practice might benefit a few, it doesn’t always consider the needs of everyone in the school. I’m often very qualified for the leadership work that I’m asked to do, but not always. If the structures become less static, the way leaders are chosen needs to become more autonomous. If teachers were afforded the opportunity to become decision makers about what kind of work is happening in a school, there is a greater likelihood that more teachers would be able to participate in ways that match their strengths and expertise.

As CTQ blogger Nick Tutolo suggests, we need supports in place to encourage all leadership styles to engage. Many teachers don’t see themselves as leaders because they don’t realize that there are many different ways to lead. By providing opportunities for a team to assess their leadership style and learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different personalities, capacity for collective leadership grows.

School systems need to build capacity for collective leadership to grow.

Imagine it. Schools where all kinds of teachers are empowered to lead through access to authentic opportunity and venues for innovation. There are so many voices just waiting for the system to change so they can be heard.

As a control freak, I know that there will always be a need for strong individual leaders. These people are often the ones to get the ball rolling when change needs to happen. However, placing an inordinate value on one person’s leadership weakens a school’s ability to thrive. Therefore, while I am happy to get things started, I am also happily learning how to step out of the way.


Jessica's post is part of CTQ's March/April blogging roundtable on collective leadership. To join the conversation, comment on this blog and read the other blogs in this series. You can find an updated list on this page, and follow CTQ on Facebook and Twitter to see when each new blog is posted. Use #CTQCollab to join the conversation on social media. 

Editor's note: A previous title used for this post was "Confessions of a one woman show." 

 

16 Comments

Carl Draeger commented on March 17, 2017 at 2:02pm:

Leadership in not optional

Your comment, "A model of leadership that favors individual leaders vs. a model that values collective voice" really resonated. Often we get caught up in cults of personality which ‘rack and stack’ teachers in terms of perceived (accurately or not) leadership abilities. I agree that it is inefficient to depend on the few leaders at a site (or a larger platform) to drive the changes required to transform my beloved profession into one that meets the needs of all my charges. All means all. We can’t afford educators to wait for a superhero either. I really appreciated the recent CTQ conversation about Teacher-Powered Schools. John Holland really made the point clear when he wrote, “This is also why a teacher-powered model is just the prescription for a more socially just society. Without the encouragement to have voice in our situation we are left a compliance mindset.” This encouragement is a necessary component of equipping teachers to be leaders in their schools, in their unions, and in their government..

 

We have to be intentional about building capacity, too. It isn’t enough for current leaders to merely “step out of the way”. There needs to be a “all hands on deck” mentality which empowers all stakeholders to lead according to their strengths, knowledge, and passions. Just like we don’t want our student teachers to be a ‘Mini-Me’, our teachers (leader is implied) need to be developed uniquely. We need to cultivate equity of voice by finding new ways for all to participate. If you’re prone to being long-winded, consider the words of Texas Bix Bender ; “Never miss an opportunity to shut up.” If you’re a wallflower, attempt to speak up even when it feels uncomfortable...or find a nonverbal way to contribute to the work.

At first blush, the concept of all teachers as leaders smacks of “too many cooks spoil the broth”. As Jessica wrote, “ Schools should allow leadership to be organic and inclusive, building on natural strengths and talents.” This makes the argument that the capable leaders will rise to face the challenges when they arise. This reminds me of the story of two farmers in the midst of an extensive drought. One farmer would go out everyday, rain or not, and get his field ready for rain. The other sat on his front porch and complained about how hard it was to farm when there was no rain. When the rain came only one was ready to reap the rewards. The same is true of leadership skills. Which farmer are you?

Justin Minkel commented on March 18, 2017 at 3:24pm:

How do we get power to listen?

Thanks, Jessica and Carl, for a thought-provoking conversation. My big question is: How do we persuade administrators (principals, superintendents, Commissioners) of the necessity for the kind of collective leadership you both describe?

On one hand, I get that you can't wait to be invited to lead, and you can't be like the lazy farmer Carl describes, waiting for the right conditions. The idea behind Rick Hess's The Cage-Busting Teacher is that sometimes the cage in our minds is more confining than the reality. Still, my problem with that book and many approaches to teacher leadership is that they underestimate the power of wrong-headed administrative policies, decisions, and personalities to sabotage attempts at collective leadership.

Here are my two cents on how to create the conditions for a model of collective leadership that does what Jessica describes: true decision-making power, truly collective, and truly based on strengths and potential rather than who will quickly agree to do the job.

1. We have to frame leadership in terms of student needs.

I often hear the case made for teacher leadership based on how empowered teachers feel. But that argument is only persuasive to teachers. Pretty much all other stakeholders want to know how teacher leadership relates to student learning (or "student achievement," almost synonymous with "test scores.") For example, if we point out that in schools that have differentiated leadership roles, experienced and effective teachers tend to stay longer, and that lack of turnover results in increased student learning, the argument starts to resonate.

2. We have to change administrators mindsets.

In a meeting with a committee to determine a strategic vision for education in my state, I argued for more collaboration time in the school day--an essential ingredient for collective leadership, so it's not always happening at 3:15 or on evenings/weekends, when teachers need and deserve some rest and family time. A member of the committee said, "But how do we monitor and compel teachers to collaborate during that time?" I said, "If you don't trust someone to collaborate during their team's collaboration time, you shouldn't trust them to be a teacher. Hire people you trust, so you won't need to 'monitor' or 'compel' them to do anything.

I'd love more thoughts from any of you; getting the conditions right (in Carl's metaphor, getting the rain to fall) is just as important as preparing the soil it will fall upon.

 

Wendi Pillars commented on March 20, 2017 at 8:32pm:

#3

I cannot think of any better way to say what you did. Amazing how such committee members can trust teachers with children all day long, but question their abillity to make use of collaborative time. Hire people you trust. Amen, Justin. 

Concerned Teacher commented on March 18, 2017 at 4:58pm:

veteran's letter to district recently

After teaching for 17 years in elementary education, I have seen positive and negative changes take place. I have seen the pendulum swing back and forth, mandates come and go. I have witnessed both struggles and growth. Of all the changes, I think this grade level leadership model has caused more problems than solutions. I say this as a teacher who has been leader on and off the teams so I view it from both sides. Before the present team model, the entire school was a team, all were leaders, we still met as grade levels but we decided the agenda and we were all on equal playing field. Because our entire school was a team, we were friends across the grades, we lunched as one team, our team was our school, each an equal member. This brought a feeling of school team dynamic as opposed to such emphasis on grade levels. Our goal was to improve our schools for children looking at problems as they arose. Grade levels would meet and discuss plans. There was not one chosen leader, all were leaders, voices were equal, and conversations were natural as the politics of the meeting were not predominant, rather the problems occurring in the classroom at that moment.

Team models where there is one constant leader seem to create division. Often, pecking order is established within the grade and the school due to the politics that arise in groups. Survival becomes the goal rather than the issues in the classrooms. Becoming friends with the leader so you have a voice is the underlying concern instead of speaking true feelings. Rather than focusing on problems at hand, there is a natural propensity to constantly speak in a manner that will be well perceived by the leader who then has discussions with the coach and principal. This is not always the case because there is the occasional team that works, however it is a shot in the dark where we assume positive intentions at all times from every member. There is no flexibility in this mindset as nobody is perfect all the time. Also consider the competition this elicits in our profession. If a teacher is a very good teacher this can be viewed as a threat to a leader's position. In addition, if a teacher wants the position of leader, finding faults with the leader where faults don't exist can also happen. With the past team model, all were team leaders, the conversations, leadership and objectivity were organic and student driven. On given days, different members lead due to natural variables like good days, good plans that week. This way, organic dynamics could be called into action depending on the situation. As it is, there is no formula to how a teacher is chosen as team leader, not high test scores, years of experience etc. so when others are supposed to follow, the reasons are very illusive thus again adding to a feeling of mistrust.

This system automatically takes away transparency. The team members can't be transparent, and the leader must speak in a way that is acceptable to the administration. This is a system where control is not in the hands of the teachers. The leadership/coach/admin meetings become a place where conversations are had in privacy and only the chosen are invited instead of the full staff meetings. This seems to have a negative effect on comradery and ownership of school ideas and spirit.

Many colleagues and I are very concerned about what we see happening here, but not sure how to approach fixing it because of repercussions and labels such as bad team member or pot stirrer. This brings up the most important flaw in this system, that this model creates fear in our teachers. It puts us in survival mode where the only choice often feels like fight or flight. When we are not all team leaders, we don’t have authority over the problems, we are soon pointing fingers at those around us and nothing gets accomplished. We have noticed this happens with teachers, coaches, admins etc, the entire district. I believe this is because is too much bureaucracy and not enough specific responsibility allotted to the teachers, not enough invested ownership. The ending of “team leader” model would allow us to all be part of the agenda making, we could go back to addressing the actual needs of our students and their

immediacy would take priority, meeting it with equality and support. The data information is important but absolutely should not be the reason for every meeting, and should not be priority. It should be a system that merits discussion but not worthy of costs and position requiring full leadership attention and focus.

After discussing this with others who have seen problems arise, we brainstormed a few possible solutions. One option is to go back where meetings are had as one team, where all are invited. If schools returned to the traditional team model, I think we would feel trusted to discuss topics we see as problematic. With the micromanagement removed, we could discuss the immediate problems in our own classrooms at the moment instead of being forced to be bobble heads in survival mode. Veteran teachers and new teachers would have equal voice as it used to be and problems could be taken to one person, the administrator, so we are no longer playing a game of telephone where issues get lost in translation, but actually addressing the needs of our students.

The other possibility we considered in our conversations was the possibility of making sure our leadership/team meetings are very intentional as are the roles. We wondered if possibly the teams were blaming each other because the guidelines are not specific or the expectations are not explicit enough for people to understand their roles. When we currently have meetings, we sometimes have agendas, sometimes we don’t. We often don’t have enough time to finish data let alone the extras. We are not sharing the data consistently across the grade levels or the same as schools, this can lead to frustration rather than independence. Not all grade levels are following PLC so when teachers share PLC training they have had, they are met with opposition. I think the district’s intent is to create ownership but compare it to a ship in the ocean with many captains. This does not make the passage easier, rather the whole trip ends in mutiny. The ambiguity also is present in leadership. We are not clear as to their role, where is separates leader from coach and principal so when we go to one place we are told to go to another because nobody is quite sure. If this can be an agreed upon system where jobs are delegated, I think this would help clarify everyone’s roles and solidify contribution. 

We also thought if this models stays, it might be appropriate to rotate teachers each year as to value the opinions and leadership from every teacher while simultaneously eliminating competition and blame.

Teacher friends and I are of the consensus that this is not a flaw of people, not the flaw of district, but rather a flaw in a system that is too bureaucratic, prioritizes numbers instead of people, and does not trust its teachers to state opinions for themselves. This change has resulted in demeaned feelings and mistrust on behalf of several district members. It feels like it flips support where district used to be there to support teachers, it feels like the reverse it true now, the teachers are there to support the needs of district and data. Many wonder if this is due to a trickle down top heavy mandate from a political entity with its own agenda because it feels a little controlling and oppressive.

I hope this letter is helpful and not just a page full of complaints. My intention is to truly help share some of the talk that is happening here in the district but also alert you to why it isn’t being shared. I love our district, it has the best heart in the world, but our body seems dysfunctional as the parts don’t seem to serve a definitive purpose so suffering is a result.

 

Jessica Cuthbertson commented on March 18, 2017 at 11:14pm:

Reciprocal Responsibility - Saying Yes (or No) Slowly...

Jessica,

I always appreciate your open, honest, and vulnerable voice. I love this quote: "Then I realized something. In schools, a teacher with leadership traits doesn’t get asked to lead because there is a sense that that she is uniquely gifted for the task she is being asked to do. She is asked to lead because someone thinks she will say yes. Again, and again, and again."

WORD! Guilty as charged. :) I know we've talked before about seeing the same faces in all the different teacher leadership groups, networks, gatherings, conferences, advocacy hearings, etc. and your post highlights why this is so. I agree that the system has a responibility to cultivate and recognize a variety of leadership strengths and styles and provide practitioners with autonomy over where/when/how/what/why they want to lead.

I'd also challenge us as individuals (especially those of us who are frequently asked to lead, like to lead, or are self-proclaimed control freaks :) to reciprocate that responsiblity and practice saying "No," so that others can lead and/or saying "yes," more slowly and thoughtfully if asked to lead in our strength or passion area. I'm certainly still a work in progress in this area but my grandmother used to always quip, "Even the president is replaceable, that's why we have a VP," (and I think she had a similar phrase for the Pope :), and I conjure her image often when I'm thinking about best "fit" for stepping up (or down or sideways) in leadership situations. (P.S. And there's nothing like a dose of family leave and being out of the country to help remind me just how easily the professional world keeps turning in my leadership absence. I definitely miss CTQ and the TL space more than it misses me -- the work keeps growing, evolving, and expanding. And that feels great. I want to contribute -- but nothing is more satisfying than stepping back and watching a collective vision, project, mission or passion take root.) 

Thanks for letting me cheer from the sidelines through this roundtable and for sharing this important message in the teacher leadership space.

Ben Owens commented on March 19, 2017 at 10:19am:

Words or actions?

Unfortunately, “teacher leadership” is a term that has been thrown around so much that it has lost much of its impact. Just like the phrases 21 Century skills, differentiated instruction, and student-centered classrooms, we have allowed what should one of our strong indicators of innovation in education to be hijacked into window dressing for a status quo system that resists change, even when that change is of significant benefit to our schools and students. Okay, that was a bit harsh and is likely to be an oversimplification, but it is admittedly a pet peeve of mine to see educators redefine words to fit their existing paradigms rather than redefine their actions to meet the true definition of the words.

Keigan’s article eloquently highlights this problem in ways that are all too familiar with those of us who have been advocating for stronger teacher leadership both in schools and in the policy arena. Teacher leadership that is in fact simply leadership: the ability to use one’s skills and talents to lead an organization to excellence – not by a title or a duty assignment, but through confidence, collaboration, passion, innovation, and mutual respect. This is the kind of leadership that we should expect in our schools because it has the power to truly transform an outdated hierarchical model into one that can deliver the best for our students and our communities. But only if we are willing to let go and allow such leadership to thrive.

Ben Sharko commented on March 19, 2017 at 2:29pm:

Organic Leadership

Jessica,

Very insightful and honest post about leadership!  Thank you for posting those two leadership style quizzes/assessments.  Although I am not a "true North", I know all too well about being "voluntold".  Like you, I am happy to step up and get the ball rolling; however, how can a school create a culture where more and more voices are heard?  As I am in the process of getting my Masters in Teacher Leadership, I am always looking for ways to allow more and more teachers to be part of positive change in a building.  I completely agree with the statement that "schools should allow leadership to be organic and inclusive".  If a teacher doesn't have a specific title (such as instructional coach or comittee memeber) they should still feel empowered to bring change to the schoool.  Thank you for posting!

Tricia Ebner commented on March 19, 2017 at 7:11pm:

Truth!

The same line that resonated with Carl also resonates with me: "A model of leadership that favors individual leaders vs. a model that values collective voice creates a whirlpool effect that is hard to escape." 

I can relate to so many things about this piece. The individual leaders vs. collective voice worries me, and I think what bothers me the most is how the individual leadership model doesn't just foster leadership in someone; it also seems to push others into a voiceless space, even into "learned helplessness." When I hear those kinds of thoughts expressed, I've started challenging them in my colleagues: "So why don't you bring up that point, ask that question? If you say nothing, then nothing will change. If you do say something, it might not change . . . but it might plant the seed for change to happen." It's long those lines of "If you don't ask, the answer is already no," although I know that's not a perfect comparison. 

I also think part of this is the evolution of my own journey. For so long I didn't consider myself to be a leader; honestly, I'm not even comfortable writing that. But I am becoming more and more aware that I am viewed in that way, and one of my biggest responsibilities is bringing others along with me. The "we" is more powerful than the "I." 

I'm looking forward to continuing to read comments on this thread, and seeing all the posts as we move forward.

Rob Kriete commented on March 21, 2017 at 8:25pm:

"We is more powerful than I!"

Tricia-

Your evolution as a teacher leader and your reticence in labeling yourself as such rings so true for many!  This evolution clearly resonates with me. The label matters not, the collaborative work we do in helping other teachers and students does.  

Rebekah Kang commented on March 19, 2017 at 8:02pm:

Summer R&D Projects

Thank you so much for this honest entry. I relate to so much of what you said; I am guilty of saying yes one too many times without considering other teachers' voice and agency.

I work at UCLA Community School (a k-12 public school located in Los Angeles) and we try hard to develop systems that encourage all teachers to participate in problem-solving and decision-making. One system that we created is the Summer Research and Development Projects. At the end of every school year, teachers can apply for a Summer R&D Project around a problem of practice that they are passionate about (i.e. middle school intervention, technology for students with disabilities, restorative justice k-12, etc.). Teachers are given a stipend usually ranging from $500-$1500 and at the end of the summer teachers present their projects to the staff. Some of the projects are not implemented right away, but many are and have helped us advance our vision and mission is significant ways. 

Amanda Montes commented on March 19, 2017 at 9:47pm:

GUILTY!

Hi Jessica!Thank you for your highly reflective blog! I found myself connecting to many, if not all, of your points. I am a teacher who always says, "yes" to any volunteer opportunity. I almost feel that I am "volun-told" because I have made it such a habit. I think if more of us teacher leader’s should practice only saying “yes” to more things that we are experts in and know we can accomplish. By doing so, this provides the opportunity for other leaders to step up and share their knowledge. Like you said, we can “get the ball rolling” since we are the first ones always to volunteer or be “volun-told” BUT we must know when to step back and allow for others to take charge. I think your term; “volun-told” occurs a lot more than it should. School systems and teacher leaders should provide opportunities for collective leadership to grow amongst all members. To be an effective leader means knowing when to step up or step back and allow others to strive. This idea will also improve school culture by having an environment where colleagues don’t feel they have to go to just one person, but they have several choices of leaders based on expertise, challenge, or task.

Thank you for your highly thought provoking post,-Amanda

Wendi Pillars commented on March 20, 2017 at 8:06pm:

Jessica, this statement of

Jessica, this statement of yours sums up quite a bit of the idea of collective leadership for me; 

Many teachers don’t see themselves as leaders because they don’t realize that there are many different ways to lead.

It's all about viewing life, leadership, and learning through a different lens. There is no one way to be a leader--if so, there wouldn't be so many books about it, and so many lifelong courses! Flying the airplane as you build it sounds reckless, but in some ways that's what is happening in the midst of unprecedented times. Those who can handle change in many areas will most likely become the more successful leaders, if not the most successful. 

I'd like to add, though, that it takes others to realize that teachers can be leaders in many different ways, too. If decisionmakers at all levels fail to dig deeper to discover other paradigms of success, then entire communities of students, parents, and colleagues, miss out on the potential expansion of one's abilities. We don't want that for our students, so why aren't we resisting more for ourselves and our talented colleagues?

Is leadership a matter of being "too competent" and "too willing", or the fact that others know you will get things accomplished if you're in charge? Food for thought,

Wendi

Liz Sheehan commented on March 21, 2017 at 3:46pm:

Space for Leadership

I couldn't agree more that leadership is expressed in a variety of ways. The key is doing exactly what Jessica suggests, which is finding ways to find ways to help teachers find "the opportunity to become decision makers about what kind of work is happening in a school, there is a greater likelihood that more teachers would be able to participate in ways that match their strengths and expertise." 

Oftentimes, I find that school leadership is anxious for changes to be made or initiatives to be implemented so quickly, that they don't leave enough time to foster this kind of organic leadership. Perhaps if the vision was articulated to the staff earlier, more natural leadership would emerge. 

 

 

 

Brian Curtin commented on March 22, 2017 at 3:24pm:

The "Yes" Effect

Thanks so much for your insight, Jessica!  You've really touched upon an important topic.  The "yes effect".  Why do we do this?  You refer to it as being a "control freak," which I interpret as wanting to be at the epicenter of change and progress.  That's what binds teacher leaders is the desire to impact positive change in the most influential way possible.  We're the group that feels guilty criticizing something without rolling up our sleeves and helping to change that "something."  We're angered by those who prefer griping over taking action.  Our shoulders "get tapped"...and tapped...and tapped.  And we say yes.  Why?  Because it's the only "collective leadership" framework currently in place, but as you say, it's not "collective leadership" at all.  It's a strategy that at best solves problems in the short term, but at worst, creates an unstainable system that misplaces and burns out talented teacher-leaders.

Bringing teachers into the leadership mix is no longer a secret to success, but doing so in the most impactful and meaningful way is still a mystery to many schools and districts.  I think schools and districts lack a clear path to incentivize leadership development.  I feel lucky to have been supported in my own teacher-leadership development, but what about those teachers out there with a wealth of untapped talent?  Or the ones who just don't have that extra time after school or at home?  Are we simply to let that potential fade away?  

Leadership is a skill, and "tapping on shoulders" and offering opportunities to lead is only one of many ways schools can foster that leadership.  We need more.  In addition to letting teachers be a part of the problem-identifying and problem-solving process, interested teachers should be granted time and training in how to be an effective leader.  Creating this clear path of development is an investment worth exploring because it creates a more effective pathway for those pursuing administration, and it will also alleviate some of the responsiblities that administration currently handles.  This diversifying of the workload gets right at the heart of what Jessica refers to as "matching strengths and expertise."  It only makes sense that an educational institution starts to practice its philosophy by creating opportunities to grow its leadership base.  Doing so will have residual positive effects on student outcomes, which is ultimately why we say "yes" in the first place.

Tara Nunes commented on April 14, 2017 at 5:50pm:

Jessica, 

Jessica, 

Thank you for your post.  With a few minor changes, it could have been me writing this post!  Being one of those teachers who doesn't know how to say no creates a problem.  I have now become known as the teacher who will say yes if you ask.  How do you change that after 8 years?  I completely agree with you about being qualified.  More often than not I am qualified for whatever it is that they are asking me to do.  But what about the times that I am not?  How do you go from the teacher that always says yes to the teacher that will only say yes if you are uniquely qualified?

Thank you for helping me to start thinking about these very important ideas!  I look forward to reading more from you, keep speaking the truth!

Sarah Palandri commented on June 21, 2017 at 4:24pm:

Absolutely!

Jessica,

As another commentor said, this could be me writing this with only a few changes.  I see the individual leadership model being used at my school and menu for teachers don't know how to say no.  So many of  our teachers get called on to lead numerous groups over and over again. At this point in their careers they feel very torn about saying no, but at the same time they feel they have nothing new to contribute.   A lot of times I feel that if I don't to say yes to being a leader of a group, then no one else will step up. How do we build those leadership skills teachers who are unwilling to  do so? I'm sure there's no right answer, but I think it's up to us teachers to empower each other to become better teacher leaders, and not leave it up to  our administrators to do so. 

 Thank you for being a control freak, like many of us are and sharing your thought-provoking post. Sarah

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