Mr Kemp NZ

Leaders are Learners Too

Last week I had a discussion with a friend who works as an Elementary classroom teacher in New Zealand. We were talking about my current role and what it involved. As part of the discussion, we talked about my transition from a classroom teacher in New Zealand, my journey to Singapore and into leadership. My friend asked me a question that really sparked my interest (and this blog post). They asked me, “As a leader in your school, how do you find time to learn when you are always leading others?”. Here is my response in blog form:

In life, perception is the reality. The way people perceive you is the reality to them so always being aware of how you are perceived is a critical element to any leaders toolkit. A standard perception of leaders is that they do not partake in professional learning opportunities, they just deliver them. In my opinion, if leaders are doing this, they are simply doing it wrong!

Image Source: https://davidwees.com/content/things-i-did-not-learn-teacher-college/

Learning is one of my biggest strengths as a leader – I crave it. I see myself as a true lifelong learner. I am globally connected and seek out self-learning every day. Twitter is my main learning space and I use my established PLN across multiple social networks to not only support my only learning but also to share out my thoughts with the intention that others may find it useful and helpful as part of their learning journey as well.

As a leader, I not only want to learn to be better at my job, but I want to be the best possible role-model to other staff. Being an active, visible learner models to others how to lead and learn. In leadership, it is important to me to improve so that I can support others in better ways and help people grow.

As a leader, I ask questions because I want to learn, not because I am being difficult. I strategically question people to get more information and to dig deeper so that both of our learning experiences are improved. I want to make people think about WHY they are learning and how it impacts student learning (this should always be evident in our learning as educators).

As a leader, I expect my team to be on the job (and off the job) learners so I have to be too. 

As a leader, I have developed a space for others in my organization to share their learning (both internally and globally) as well. We use tools like Twitter and our school hashtag (#SAISrocks) to share our learning journey and to be visible learners.

Image Source: https://www.slideshare.net/ChristinUpshaw/leadership-principles-11988989

In conclusion, this blog post was inspired by a simple question. A question that was targetted from my friend’s experience and knowledge of what a leader means to them. The key point here is that a leader must lead in different ways in different situations, using a variety of strategies and tools. But one thing that does not change is that they should always be learning and growing.

As a leader, how do you grow? Please share – as a leader – I want to learn from you too!

About author View all posts Author website

Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Head of Educational Technology at a large International School in Singapore. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

Have something to say?

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hi Craig,

    I love this blog post and it totally reflects my own philosophy (in fact, I wish I’d written it!). I couldn’t agree more! It’s my first year as a year band leader and, at Christmas, I received a card from a teacher in my team. She stated that my leadership and enthusiasm for lifelong learning encouraged her to keep learning and reach higher. Those words meant the world to me because I believe that this is an important function of leadership.

    Twitter is my greatest source of inspiration and learning. I’m constantly encouraging people to join but, sadly, people just don’t realise what they’re missing. My blog also keeps me busy. Of course, the writing is the quick part. Each post is the product of ongoing research, reading and learning. I also seek out online courses such as the Google certifications, etc. There’s really no excuse for people to stop learning. PD is readily available and very often free! I have also just started a master’s degree. I think I’m addicted to learning…

    It’s so important to model lifelong learning. How can we complain about our students’ attitudes to learning if we don’t demonstrate this ourselves?

    Keep up the good work! Great post, mate!

    Adam

  • Hi Craig,

    Great article 😊 You have made me really think about how I learn…and grow…

    1. I think I grow through experiencing different situations within my role, every experience offers an opportunity to reflect, develop, learn and grow. And any learning prior to these experiences (twitter/google/reading) equips one to better deal with them.

    2. I grow through the wealth of my teams experiences and knowledge. Through day to day dialogue we generate ideas and areas of interest…but it’s important not to let it stop there. The next step is to form personal lines of enquiry based on these…seek out information and research…develop further understanding and knowledge.

    3. I grow through openmindedness, listening and reading 😊

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...