Assistant Dean for Professional Education and Accreditation, North Carolina State University
What does it mean to be a leader? Are leaders born or are they developed?
If you Google the word “Leader,” depending on the day, you may end up with between 4 and 6 billion hits. There is certainly no shortage of opinions, courses, or books on leadership. Some individuals are leaders by virtue of their title, others are considered leaders whether or not they have a title. Whether leadership has been thrust upon you or it has slowly developed over time, you understand that leadership carries the challenge of expectations and obligations.
As a person who thinks about the concept of leadership quite a bit, it seems to me that, although some individuals may embody characteristics that lend themselves to leadership, true leaders are developed over time through a combination of professional development and lived experience.
As a leader you have an obligation to those you lead, an obligation to the profession, and an obligation to yourself. In the field of education, and in teacher preparation in particular, there are no shortage of leaders. Those who are the most impactful, however, are the ones who continuously seek to improve their knowledge, skills, and relationships.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
The Legislative Long Session in North Carolina this year was, in many ways, a productive one for education, generating a number of consequential bills that became law. Included in the slate was the reintroduction of the Teaching Fellows program, thanks to a collaborative effort led by Senator Chad Barefoot and the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (NCACTE).
Education is no longer a profession in which teachers retreat to their classrooms and close their doors to work in isolation. Today, many teachers are involved in their professional associations, school-based professional learning teams, and increasingly in virtual collaboration of different kinds. Using a variety of technology tools such as Edmodo, Google Hangouts, Twitter, and more, many teachers are reaching out beyond their schools, districts, and even countries, to develop virtual networks that provide both professional challenge and support.
Despite common caricatures of Twitter as the domain of callow teens and celebrity stalkers, it is a technology that should be taken seriously by teacher educators. Although social media has had a dramatic impact on communication in the modern world, the field of teacher preparation has been largely reluctant to add its voices to the mix. It is high time that we wake up to the role new media can play in our professional lives—and to the risks of remaining on the sidelines.
We have seen what can happen when we allow others to decide how our story is told, especially those who view our work with suspicion or even outright hostility. When U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that “many if not most of the nation’s 1,450 schools, colleges, and departments of education are doing a mediocre job of preparing teachers for the realities of the 21st-century classroom,” for example, that message won broad circulation, including in social media. Today, the secretary’s and the U.S. Department of Education’s Twitter accounts reach more than 500,000 individuals. By comparison, AACTE’s Twitter account has approximately 5,600 followers.
How can you use Twitter to market and promote your work? We’ll show you during a free webinar for AACTE members, “Twitter 101 for Leaders in Educator Preparation,” a spin-off from our interactive dialogue presented at AACTE’s 67th Annual Meeting in February.
On Wednesday, May 27, at 1:00 p.m. EDT, this webinar will provide a rationale for the use of Twitter, an overview of the platform, and best practices for use by you and your educator preparation program in this AACTE webinar. You’ll gain insight on how to leverage Twitter to tell your story to candidates, alumni, policy makers, and the public at large.