For many teachers the new school year is about to start. As many embark on a new year we have many dreams and aspirations for ourselves and our students. Rabbi Sacks in his most recent “Covenant and Conversation” article The Leader as Teacher says it better than I could have said it. So I would like to share with you his words.
" For twenty-two years, as a Chief Rabbi, I have carried with me the following quotation from one of the greatest leaders of the Zionist movement, Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. Although he was a secular Jew, he was enough of a historian and Bible scholar to understand this dimension of leadership, and said so in eloquent words:
Whether you hold humble office in a municipality or in a small union or high office in a national government, the principles are the same: you must know what you want to achieve, be certain of your aims, and have these goals constantly in mind. You must fix your priorities. You must educate your party, and must educate the wider public. You must have confidence in your people – often greater than they have in themselves, for the true political leader knows instinctively the measure of man’s capacities and can rouse him to exert them in times of crisis. You must know when to fight your political opponents, and when to mark time. You must never compromise on matters of principle. You must always be conscious of the element of timing, and this demands a constant awareness of what is going on around you – in your region if you are a local leader, in your country and in the world if you are a national leader. And since the world never stops for a moment, and the pattern of power changes its elements like the movement of a kaleidoscope, you must constantly reassess chosen policies towards the achievement of your aims. A political leader must spend a lot of time thinking. And he must spend a lot of time educating the public, and educating them anew
Teachers are the unacknowledged builders of the future, and if a leader seeks to make lasting change, he or she must follow in the footsteps of Moses and become an educator. The leader-as-teacher, using influence not power, spiritual and intellectual authority rather coercive force, was one the greatest contributions Judaism ever made to the moral horizons of humankind and it can be seen most clearly in the Book of Devarim, when Moses for the last month of his life summoned the next generation and taught them laws and lessons that would survive, and inspire, as long as there are human beings on earth."
I think in the last paragraph Rabbi Sacks make its clear we need to connect and be role models for our students and reach them on a social emotional and intellectual level.
May we all see our dreams and aspirations come true this school year and may we all be the Teacher Leaders our students need us to be