Leading with Vulnerability - National Council of Teachers of English
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Leading with Vulnerability

The March issue of The Council Chronicle, available online now, looks at a dazzling range of ways in which English language arts educators lead, inspire, and shape the future of literacy teaching and learning.

Starting with Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick’s “Leading with Vulnerability” (below), NCTE members and leaders share stories that illustrate their determination to improve not only their students’ lives but the profession as a whole.

“Lightning Paths” spotlights a teacher innovating in poetry instruction; a teacher’s professional courage in the face of censorship takes center stage in “Speaking Up for a Student’s Right to Read,” and “Teachers as Change Agents” describes how a collaboration that started with a book club led to new district-wide curricula supporting LGBTQ students. 

Plus, you’ll find a strong call to reimagine assessment, thoughts on leadership from several members of NCTE’s Executive Committee, and perspectives on inspiring a love of reading and writing from six popular YA authors!


Leading with Vulnerability

In all my years working in the education space, I remain consistently impressed by the leadership of teachers.

Whether pioneering a fresh approach, relentlessly searching for new ways to reach students, finding time to advance thinking and learning as adult readers, standing up for their rights in front of a school board, or deftly navigating challenging conversations with parents, every day, teachers lead us forward.

Researcher and author Brené Brown says “our ability to be daring leaders will never be greater than our capacity for vulnerability.” This is a hallmark of the leadership I so value in the NCTE community.

With increasing frequency, the hashtag #NCTEvillage crowdsources support and insight in response to inquiries from teachers who share their uncertainties out in the open and seek ways to grow and learn from one another. Dive into our journals and books and you’ll find stories of trials and tribulations and the discoveries that come from the messy work of striving to do better.

This issue of The Council Chronicle highlights several NCTE members who lead. They put themselves out there.

They don’t shy away from the hard questions. In the space where we don’t know all the answers, but we know change is necessary, it’s incredible to be part of a community that collectively says, “let’s figure it out!” This inspires me as a leader, and in these pages you’ll read reflections from members of our Executive Committee who feel the same way.

Our community is at its best when it leads with wholeheartedness—an understanding that along with our vulnerabilities and messiness, we bring significant expertise and mission-driven commitment. It’s an honor to lead by your side.

—Emily Kirkpatrick
NCTE Executive Director