Formal leadership in an educational context will also involve seeking out other tangible experiences in which we might learn about what it means to lead in the context of learning. These practical opportunities come from actively seeking out placements, courses, and positions that will imbue us with responsibility for people, projects, and educational environments. Seeking out leadership positions of this nature may mean applying to be a captain at our secondary school, seeking election to the executive of our faculty at university, or asking for further opportunities to play a leadership role in special projects. These can broaden our perspective on how best to work with people, how best to motivate growth, and how best to learn together.
We may also be called on to provide formal leadership in an educational context as the elected representative for a group of students. Such responsibilities may intersect with shared academic endeavour but they will also typically ask us to take on care for the social, financial, or wellness interests of our fellow students. This will call on a whole new range of competencies.
Formal leadership during our education allows us to rehearse for leadership subsequently. Learning to lead begins with taking up the responsibilities of service. We learn as we go and we learn through specific study that prepares us to lead. We must step into our positions in the knowledge that we are making a start. We can always improve. There will be many mistakes and failures along the way. Slowly, through consolidating our understanding of leadership through trial and error, through practice and repetition, our leadership within an educational context will become more comprehensive and habitual. There is always more to learn, more to practice, and more to do.
We can contemplate our understanding of our Formal Leadership in an Educational Context by considering the following questions:
- Do I keep myself informed and interested in formal opportunities for leadership positions at my current school, university or program?
- Do I find opportunities to interact with senior leaders, instructors and administrators in relation to my personal leadership developmental plan and goals?
- Do I show commitment and initiative and make a significant contribution to all roles I take on, regardless of perceived size or importance?
- Do I set small and large personal goals for the project or activity I am leading, and reflect on what I have learned when this concludes?
- Do I feel an obligation to be a responsible steward of the learning communities and institutions that I am associated with?