Today I happened across a list of 100 best leadership quotes. A large proportion of these quotes emphasize the relational, inspirational, caring elements that characterize leadership as distinct from management. I started reading the “100 best” from an administrator perspective, and then I began to re-read the quotes substituting “teacher” for “leader”. As you might guess, my thought experiment underscored how the very best teachers are those who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities.
#26: You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case. (Ken Kesey)
…or put another way…
You don’t teach by pointing and telling people some place to go. You teach by going to that place and making a case.
I’m not sure that Kesey’s leadership style (or teaching style, for that matter) would fit well in today’s workplace/classrooms. But that quote reimagined is a container for constructivist perspectives of authentic learning environments. I don’t love the hint of persuasion that “making a case” in Kesey’s quote implies, but I choose to read it as being willing to start where the learner is at and establish the relevance and salience of learning. And the best teachers are right alongside their students as they journey to unanticipated destinations.
Actually, that list consitutes quite a gold mine of pointers for outstanding teaching.