There are many leaders that have shaped the person I have become. My parents first. My mom is a teacher and she has shown me the amount of work and passion it takes to be a teacher. Also, the dedication to family. My dad coached my basketball teams growing up and modeled the importance of building relationships with others, and demonstrating how to inspire others. As a teacher, I think about my own schooling, and specific coaches and teachers I looked up to. Mrs. Siegert, who was my high school track coach and engaged me in a new sport that I learned to love. I think I remember her more that other coaches, because of her commitment to her players. She saw who we were as individuals and would do little things to show us she cared. I expect that from family, but it was so genuine and real from her that it really stuck with me. Still today, as I start my first coaching job, I hope to emulate some of her greatness with my students.
As I think back on my journey throughout college, my supervisor at Winona State, Ann Durley, was a huge influence on my life. She is a hall director at one of the residence halls on campus, as well as the director of camps. I started working for her my freshman year as a student assist in the camps office. I never thought about becoming an RA (resident assistant) until she convinced me I might I have a niche for it and that it would be a great experience before teaching. I owe some of my most cherished college experiences and friends to her, for inspiring me to take the risk and apply for that position. As a supervisor, she always demonstrated her trust in her staff, and her ability to be there for us whenever we needed anything was something I will never forget.
Student teaching was a huge life moment for me. I was assigned a larger high school in Rochester, to teach Biology to 9th graders. My cooperating teacher was a football coach-type character. He taught me many valuable things about leadership. His relationships with students was always number one. We would spend the entire first week of school just on building connections with the kids in his class. He also taught me that it was okay to fail, and more importantly, acknowledge that in front of students. Seeing this empowered students, it made him more human and respected to his class.
When I was reading the book, The Truth About Leadership, the first chapter explained an example of a young girl and her journey to becoming a leader, even at age 9. It reminded me of the Kid President videos. I think it really speaks the truth about leaders. You don't have to be promoted to a leadership position, as the book puts it, "you open yourself to making a difference in the world."
Kouzes, James M., and Barry Z. Posner. "Truth One: You Make A Difference." The Truth about Leadership: The No-fads, Heart-of-the-matter Facts You Need to Know. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010. 1-15. Print.