Courageous leading requires a dramatically
different conception of the role of the leader.
Yvette Jackson and Veronica McDermott
Teachers’ beliefs about their students and themselves influence what they do in the classroom every day. The best teachers practice what we call the pedagogy of confidence, a pedagogy that is rooted in their passionate belief in their students’ potential for high
academic achievement and in their own ability to support all
students (Jackson, 2001). Teachers who practice the pedagogy
of confidence are fearless; they know how to negotiate the
murky waters of conflicting curricular demands, overbearing
assessments, and constant scrutiny to become the teachers they
want to be.
But even the most fearless teachers need support from fearless leaders. Such leadership requires openness to new ways of
doing things, intense examination of one’s belief systems, and
development of critical skills. In our leadership sessions at the
National Urban Alliance (NUA), we have met many fearless
leaders who are able to take what they learn from our leadership training and apply it in their schools in ways that facilitate
growth in teachers and students.
PHOTO BY KEVIN DAVIS
New Metaphors for Leadership
Fearless leading requires a dramatically different conception of
the role of the leader. A conception of the leader as the lone go-