Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Lifelong Learning: Leading by Following

This post is week 4 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators from hotlunchtray.com. Find out more by clicking here

Here is a thought I have as I sit down to write this post: Can we be a leader without being a follower? 

I think of many of the professional leadership opportunities that I've had over the last several years: instructing PD sessions, coaching teachers, consulting administrators, writing blog posts, engaging in twitter chats. None of those things are possible if I am not following the work of others. 

A few years ago, I began training in a program called eMINTS. At first glance, eMINTS is looked at and described as a program that teaches teachers how to effectively integrate technology into their classroom. Similar to other professional development groups, eMINTS places you in a cohort. You become part of a family of educators. eMINTS also teaches you about the importance of setting up a PLN, (professional learning network). 

Once I began to develop a PLN across Google+ and Twitter, my leadership opportunities grew exponentially. Why? Because I was able to follow the lead of so many educators across the globe, and bring it back to those around me. The funny thing is, at the time, I didn't realize that I was being a leader. I thought I was just sharing things that I had learned. 

To this day, that is how I continue to lead; by following. I enjoy seeing the work of others, and sharing that work. This process causes great dialogue to happen between myself and my peers.

I don't just follow the lead of those who post things on social media, it's also important for leaders to follow what is going on in the school around them. I try to visit classrooms often to see the work that is going on in the building. I invite teachers to share their work with me in person as well. As great as it is to share strategies and ideas that I see on media platforms, it's even better to share things that are happening right here at home with others. 

There isn't a way to be a leader with out being a follower. 


  1. Yes. I agree! I followed a similar path of always learning by following the learning and sharing of others. You've made a clear description of why to build and grow your PLN -- to apply in our own situation and share back.

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