Academic journal article Childhood Education

Teachers as Social Advocate Leaders

Academic journal article Childhood Education

Teachers as Social Advocate Leaders

Article excerpt

As the bell rings on a hot southern summer day at a rural elementary school, students come running in rambunctiously, oblivious to the motivational lessons on character and discipline given each day. In an attempt to gain a connection with the students, the teacher gives them an assignment to write about their lives. Reading their papers, the teacher is taken aback when he sees that students have to deal with being passed through the foster care system, not having lights on in the house, having little if anything to eat the night before, and a plethora of other problems that have an adverse effect on ability to learn. After reading students' writings, the teacher begins to experience a paradigm shift. The way the teacher thinks about his students changes from viewing them as problems to viewing them as students with problems.

In American society, we have a system that sows seeds unevenly, which leaves some land barren and unproductive. While the dominant group is cultivated by having their needs met, others are truncated in their growth. Knowing the kind of unequal results this system produces in our children's education should suggest the need for a novel approach in leadership among educators. I recommend an egalitarian approach in which educators are social advocates for students and promote equal education for all.

To be social advocates for students, teachers first must have a perspective that values all students, particularly "disadvantaged" and "at-risk" students. …

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