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activity I completed was an internship at Public School 180. During the course of this internship I was able to engage in several prolonged activities with my mentor, Mr. Gary Williams, who was the principal of the school. The form of interaction I had with Mr. Williams involved a formal interview session with him, as well as a meeting near the end of the internship in which he helped to clarify a number of ideas for me related to one of the focuses of my activity, the exploration of the value of personal/professional relationships as related to promotions. Mr. Williams was instrumental in enabling me to revise my viewpoint on this issue, as were a pair of articles I read related to this subject including Roof and Presswood's (2004) valuation of charisma as a key characteristic of leadership (p.3). Additionally, from Adamek's article (2007) I learned the importance of fostering an inner circle (p. 121), which I was able to readily incorporate into my internship as well.
Program Outcome Rationale
The overarching theme of this internship was to help me cultivate my skills as a leader. In light of my chosen profession, my role as a leader is multifaceted. As an elementary school teacher, I will need to be a positive, constructive leader for my students to inspire them to strive for success in their education. Additionally, I was hoping to foster my leadership skills among like-minded professionals, administrative personnel, family and friends of students, and among the community in general as well.
I was able to successfully fulfill my role in the internship as a person who cares both about his fellow students as well his fellow teachers. One of the key leadership dispositions is life-long learning. My involvement with Mr. Williams, a longstanding educator and principal, showed me first-hand the value of continuing to learn every day. Another specific outcome indicator is the pursuit of excellence. I was well aware of the fact that excellence is about more than quantitative measurements, including grades. I truly believe that my experience in my internship enabled me to understand and develop leadership skills pertaining to professional socializing that bring me substantially closer to achieving excellence as a pedagogue.
My interview with Gary Williams, the principal of PS 180, was frank and to the point. I was able to learn much from it, particularly the value of followers and input from others to a leader. Mr. Williams emphasized that one of the most important things leaders and principals need is feedback from those interacting with students and parents. He also discussed his professional network, and how that aids him in doing his job of caring for and educating students.
Educational Leadership Platform
My educational leadership platform was included my goals for internship, which were to learn how to become a better teacher, obtain substantial classroom experience, and to perform a variety of tasks that would enable me to achieve these goals. I was able to significantly interact with a number of students of diverse populations, which was well aligned with my background since the bulk of my own education was conducted in a diverse environment with students of all varieties of backgrounds, ethnicities and religions.
During the relatively brief time in which I participated in this internship, I was able to help students with some of the tools that they will need to critically think and pursue learning throughout their lifetime. A review of the Pearson Education Platform Leadership Dispositions revealed that of all the areas, my primary strength is in lifelong learning. As such, I attempted (and had some success in) transmitting this quality into some of the students with whom I worked.
The work which I pursued during this internship relating to the networking skills and establishment of professional relationships that is necessary helped to address the area I required the most improvement in, excellence. Mr. Williams' feedback helped in this area. Specifically, he taught me the importance of fostering social relationships with faculty and staff and to distinguish them from my personal life.
The professional development experiences I participated in related to the leadership area I was striving to improve, excellence, because they taught me the value of professional networking. I was skeptical about promotions based on nepotism and personal relationships. However, I read a couple of important artciles (which I mentioned earlier int his report) that indicated that fostering professionals relationships is one of the critical facets of leadership itself.
Moreover, there are certain intrinsic qualities in a leader -- such as charisma -- that are essential for inspiring and motivating others to follow. These qualities play a part in cultivating professional relationships as well as assist in developing leadership skills. Therefore, my experiences in professional development helped me to understand and develop these qualitative characteristics of leadership, which have aided me in achieving excellence in this profession.
My mentor, Mr. Gary Williams, is the principal of my school, PS 180. As my mentor, Mr. Williams is aware of my concerns that leadership positions are not awarded based on merit, but due to what would frequently be described as nepotism. In prior conversations, Mr. Williams has endeavored to help me understand that relationship development is a key element of leadership. I have previously been resistant to this advice, not because I did not trust his advice, but because I feared that I did not have the natural ability to be the type of people-person that I saw in these relationship-based leadership positions. However, my exposure to these two sources of professional development helped me understand that these skills can be developed.
Mr. Williams suggested that I begin by working on developing my inner circle. As my mentor, I have been invited into Mr. William's inner circle and have consistently and reliably fulfilled my duties and obligations to him in that capacity. What I did not realize is that my consistent performance in his inner circle had put me into contact with numerous people I could include in my own inner circle. Furthermore, working with Mr. Williams, I had been identified as a vital member in the inner circles of other influential people in my work environment. What was interesting, however, was, because I had not been the team leader on many of these projects, I did not always identify potential inner circle members with accuracy. We discussed one potential member of my inner circle who had seemed very competent when we worked together on one specific project. He wanted me to ensure I was evaluating her total performance, not simply the confidence she projected in the meetings related to the project.
Another factor that we considered was the socialization aspect of leadership. Mr. Williams stressed that it was important to develop friendships, because I wanted to be able to inspire people to follow me because they believe in me and do not question my integrity. He wanted me to understand that there is a difference between cultivating workplace friendships, so that I have an amicable relationship with people in the workplace, and developing other friendships. For example, he reminded me that if I achieve my desired leadership position, I may be in a place where I need to evaluate and possibly discipline my friends. He reminded me that I need to be able to do so without allowing my personal feelings to interfere with my professional judgment. He did, however, remind me that personal relationships can help me be aware when a coworker is experiencing personal difficulties, and place me in a good position to help avoid any work-related problems that might result from those personal difficulties. Furthermore, Mr. Williams suggested that I work carefully to cultivate a separation between my personal and professional lives. He reminded me that any…[continue]
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