Monday, November 07, 2005

Goodbye Andy

Though he is not leaving today I have been asked to say a few words at our staff meeting in Andy's honour for his departure from my school this Friday.

Andy has been with our school for more than three years and he has distinguished himself in a number of ways. Most notably he has shown himself to be a dedicated teacher with a true love for his students and the process of teaching. When he was accorded the honour of becoming the head teacher for Jaram he shied away not wanting to be involved in the always challenging work of overseeing his peers. Eventually he acquiesced because he was the most senior of our staff and he felt that perhaps he could contribute something to us -- not to mention the insistance of our boss.

Greek philosophy tells us that the best leaders are the reluctant ones, this is certainly true in Andy's case as well. As a leader, he never set himself above his colleagues, always choosing the most distasteful of tasks for himself instead of asking somebody else to do them. As a commited teacher he refused to give up even the smallest of his teaching duties in favour of his new position of authority. Partly he did this because he did not want to give up the joy of teaching, but deep down I think he also realized that we would resent him if he pretended to lead us without the experience, the act, of teaching to back him up.

I've known a few prinicipals in my experience as a teacher and as a student. I've always found that those principals that refused to practise teaching were the most out of touch and least able of teachers. Why would they not teach if they had the wisdom that should allow them to lead other teachers? How can they prove themsleves capable leaders if they are too frightened to enter the classroom themselves.

It is a sad, and poorly ruled world, that is lead by the only the power hungry leaders and not the wise and reluctant ones -- like Andy. Now, as my school is quite possibly being overrun by leaders who wish to glorify themselves with money and influence, instead of taking joy in the teacher-student relationship -- I tell you -- Andy and his leadership, informed by his heart and his head not by his greed will be sorely missed by all (one way or another).

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