One thing we know for sure is that a lot is expected of teachers. Teachers wear a lot of hats, they model manners, advocate for their students' education, are constantly adapting to stay up to date with curriculum and policy. They focus their energy on fostering a love of learning, help resolve issues and create unity in the classroom, ensure that their students are clothed and fed. They are a helping hand, a coach, an enricher, and a team captain for their classroom.
Teachers do all of these things... so, ultimately, what is a teacher? I would argue that teachers really are the best leaders. Check out some of these definitions of leaders and you'll see what I mean!
"A guiding or directing head..." (dictionary.com)
"Leaders are those who always empower others." (Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft)
"Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure the impact lasts in your absence." (Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook)
"Leadership is an expression of discipleship–it is simply a matter of helping others come unto Christ." (Stephen W. Owen, Young Men General President)
"A real leader uses every issue, no matter how serious and sensitive, to ensure that at the end of the debate we should emerge stronger and more united than ever before." (Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa)
"Leadership is not about you; it's about investing in the growth of others." (Ken Blanchard, Author)
"True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up." (Sheri L. Dew, Former General Relief Society Presidency Member)
"No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence." (Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights Activist)
Leadership is about much more than stature or position. Leadership is about influencing the lives of others in positive ways and helping point them in a direction that will succeed. I know that is what teachers are meant to do. When you sign up to be a teacher, you sign up to truly change the live of others. You can do this.
Being a leader is not easy, but it is worth it. Maybe not every student will be your best friend and maybe not every parent will see eye to eye with you, but your leadership attributes and influence will be imprinted on those who need it most.
Want to learn more about how to be a leader through teaching? Check out education.byu.edu or meet with an ambassador to hear personal experiences.