For the past few days now, the words “honor and excellence” which is actually my alma mater’s motto keep running through my mind. I’ve been pondering on the concept of leadership and how the two concepts mentioned above are important in a discussion on leadership. Seeing glimpses of leadership in my Grade 11 students (the STEM section) the past week was enough to make me think on leadership and how do we develop it in the classroom as teachers.
I believe that anyone can be a leader. Some people are leaders because they were chosen or appointed but I think some of the greatest leaders emerge out of times of testing, crises and servanthood. The latter concept – the concept of servant leadership – is the kind of leadership I want to highlight as it is the type that mostly coincides with my belief system.
Anyone can be a leader but it takes a really good one to serve. And that is, I believe, the real test of being a leader. To serve those that are above you whether you agree with them or not, whether you like it or not and to serve those “beneath” you (your followers) whether you agree with them or not. That said, leaders borne out of servanthood are of a different breed.
Leadership is something I have been fascinated with – as a teacher – since I’ve seen my Grade 2 Banana students transformed from being the “slowest, worst, last pull-outs section” to that of students who walked in line WITHOUT me walking alongside them, knew how to self-regulate without being told just because they already knew the class rules and policies and adhered to it without me telling them. It was an amazing feat for my 2nd graders who were once called “slow learners”, etc.
That being said, I believe leadership transcends IQs and intelligence. In the real world, it’s EQ (emotional quotient) + IQ that will matter. And if our kids, our students, learn at a young age to regulate themselves, honor authority, learn to regulate and control themselves without us policing them, I’d dare say, the Philippines would be a different nation in ten years’ time.
Going back to my Grade 11 class (STEM section), they made me proud this week when I saw three young men “facilitating” the class as I was called to work on another matter for a period. When I commended them, one told me it was the whole class. I like how they did not hog the limelight for themselves but acknowledged the group.
While at times young people can be loud, very active (I call it dynamic) and sometimes their learning can be “messy” in class, I have learned that if we entrust them with something they will deliver. I saw that when the batch prepared a cultural presentation for some American guests from Campus Crusade for Christ USA and I saw it happen again this week.
As I’ve already written in this blog, the best teaching happens when you hear your student say (and I borrow Teacher Sabrina Ongkiko’s lines), “Teacher, ang galing ko! (Teacher, I’m very good and smart!” Someday, I want to see my 2nd graders (now Grade 3) and my 11th and 7th graders become the leaders I have always seen them to be: this country’s next generation leaders.
My prayer is that they lead with honor and excellence and a fear of God. Leaders who possess strong minds, tender hearts for their followers and who possess integrity. Leaders who know how to follow rules and honor those in authority and can lead with authority because they are under authority. Yes, it is rather safe to say like Martin Luther King Jr., “I have a dream. I have that dream of seeing leaders like them in the future.”
This post is dedicated to my Grade 2 Banana kids who are now in Grade 3 and my Grade 11 students. 🙂