Thursday, July 23, 2015

#beyouEDU - Finding Your Swagger with Shana White

To me swagger is a word with a negative connotation, bringing to mind other words like self-seeking, cocky, shallow, and selfish. While swagger means those things to me and maybe not to others, I would rather first it examine source of personal swagger which is identity. Our identities are shaped by our faith, our experiences, our relationships, and our perceptions. That identity is what we educators project to our administrators, colleagues, students and even parents. In turn, the identity we project has a huge impact on our school’s culture including a lasting impact on our students.

The identity we project daily will dictate how we are perceived by students, fellow teachers, and administration. Perceptions formed will determine respect levels, how we are treated and in some cases be an indicator of our effectiveness as an educator. You, like me, have probably worked with the entire gamut of educator identities including: Negative Nancy, Passionate Paul, Boastful Bob, Conscientious Cathy, and Lazy Lucy just to name a few. A collection of educator identities creates a school environment that can be the Garden of Eden, a dungeon torture chamber or somewhere inbetween. Until educators actively break the cycle of projecting a negative identity we will continue to have more dungeon torture chamber schools and ultimately hurt our students.

So how do we combat the negative identities in our buildings? Servant-leadership.  

Servant-leadership requires one to be selfless, humble, thoughtful, and promote others. Rafranz Davis, an educational leader who I respect, tweeted this recently and I thought it was a great definition of what servant-leadership is.

Servant leadership is such a positive and powerful force that is desperately needed in all classrooms, schools, and districts. By empowering those individuals around you, educators can reshape the identities of students, teachers, and administrators ultimately altering an entire school’s culture. I truly believe once we have a large number of educators thinking less about “me” and more about “we” that the direction our schools are going will drastically change.

Putting someone else first is a hard thing for any individual to live out, right? I struggle with it at times also, but the fruits of servant leadership are so rewarding and long lasting than any pat on the back I have received. Servant-leader Shana is my educator identity, it is how I roll.  

Why not be the change in your classroom, school, and even district? Why not focus on humbly empowering others to personal greatness? Instead of it being about you, help students, teachers, and administrators find their swagger. Transform your building by empowering the individuals in it. You’ll be glad you did.

About the author: Follower of Christ. Mother of 2. Certified Health and Physical Education Teacher; taught in private, public, and online classrooms during 11 year teaching career. Currently, serving as a Middle School Technology Coordinator in Gwinnet County Public Schools (metro Atlanta).

1 comment:

  1. Very good post Shana. I enjoyed reading it and am invested and committed to servant-leadership! This is the tru path to happiness and inner peace.