Distributed Leadership, A literature review and discussion of the implications for Professional Development by Jan Coleman

Immediately I was distracted by the spelling of “organisation.” It is hard for my brain to ignore errors or imperfections within writing and move forward. Anyway – here’s my review.

Straight from the introduction, my mind went into pessimistic mode. “The role of leadership is to create the commitment, alignment, and direction to enable this to happen.” My question has to do with this revolving door of teaching/administration positions. How does the core of the staff with who want to stay within the district create this commitment with other people when there are new people within the school each year? Even the strongest administrator may find it challenging when teachers are constantly leaving and entering their school. I will admit at times I feel motivated to start this process, but then unenthusiastic when I think about the “how’s” of sustainability. It takes more than one person for leadership to happen, as I have been reading, so how do I get more people on board? How do I keep the motivation alive when the staff is ever-changing?

“Culture, as well as context, affects the view taken on leadership.” This quote directly relates to my previous response (rant maybe?). If the culture of the school is not adaptable to the change of new staff, how does leadership take place? The article states later within the article that “Distributed leadership is not for every school, context and timing matter.” I believe that my school would benefit greatly from distributed leadership. However, we need to find a core teacher group that has the community at its best interest. Teachers come and go each year, making sustainability an issue.

The key components that need to be incorporated listed in the article is great. However I put on my pessimistic hat and ask when? How? With what money? Unfortunately, I feel like budget is the end all be all right now in our schools. It is hard to find the motivation for such programs when I feel like I’m lucky just to have a job right now. I apologize if I’m being negative; I value the power of questioning.

I do appreciate all of the articles we have been given to review. This is a great idea and I appreciate reading others responses.

2 thoughts on “Sustainability

  1. I agree about the spelling errors. It is sad that so many teachers keep leaving. I too wonder about the reasons. In large school districts they are often moved, but in a smaller district, where do they go?
    I am wondering if what the overall scope of what we are learning is a change of mindset for each individual so that no matter where we/they are that the whole “it is not my job” theory is removed as a society and replaced with “what can I do to help/motivate?”

  2. You have made a great point, Stephanie-one that I hadn’t thought of -how do we implement sustainable leadership if a teacher is unable to remain in the same school? I agree that budget restriction, budget cuts, and the like make it extremely difficult to see a project through. I had a friend last year who taught at a Eugene high school who was in the middle of a really cool project until she received her layoff notice. She was told by her supervisors to continue planning for the project anyway. This, I think, is emotionally difficult to do.

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