Courageous leading requires a dramatically different conception of the role of the leader.
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.
New Metaphors for Leadership