Over the past week I have had the amazing opportunity to be guest tweeter for @EduTweetOz – an initiative started by 3 wonderful educators. @EduTweetOz uses Twitter as a platform to engage teachers, educators, facilitators and people working with young people to encourage discussion and debate about Australia’s education system as well as share their knowledge and skills to a broader audience.
Having the opportunity to engage with teachers from across Australia gave me an insight into the passion they have for their work and students. Also the frustration that exists but not in the classroom rather the rigid system that emphasizes teaching to an exam and not to meaningful outcomes for students like preparing students for what happens beyond the classroom. These 140 character long insights from educators made me really appreciate the need for quality teachers but more importantly a system that supports creativity, connection and the realization that learning is a lifelong experience.
During the course of this year and again this week, I have been reflecting on my definition of leadership, which was ‘being able to create room behind you for others to fill’. I have come to a growing realization that this definition no longer fits my current beliefs about leadership.
Instead my belief of leadership has come to align with one of my favorite quotes:
“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others”
This quote doesn’t speak to a title or achievement but rather a lifestyle and a belief in others. It speaks to selflessness and positive action.
Through the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy I have had the opportunity to engage Indigenous young people across Australia and further explore what is leadership and its relevance to our young people. It has been an amazing adventure that has led me to examine my own beliefs, values and my own journey.
We have explored and had many long discussions with a number of elders and family about the idea of leadership in a traditional and cultural context. We came to the understanding that leadership was a concept that wasn’t specifically taught, and honestly how do you teach ‘leadership’ in a community context…? Instead, leadership was an outcome of a life of learning. Leadership didn’t come with a title, it came with knowledge of stories, song, dance and understanding which was taught, shared and expanded upon as a young person grew and matured.
Seeing leadership in a new light has led to a deeper appreciation of sharing knowledge, lifelong learning and the important role individuals can play in the lives of others. My time as guest tweeter for @EduTweetOz has emphasised the amount of leadership that exists in our classrooms. It has also emphasised the incredible need in our communities to ensure our education system supports our educators’ skills, knowledge and passion to ensure students across Australia begin their lifetime of learning in the best possible way. That’s true leadership.