At first glance, I think the answer seems obvious. Of course you need to be a good teacher if you are to have any credibility as an instructional leader. And for a long long time, I just used that assumption in assessing myself as a formal educational leader. But lately I have been realizing that a dichotomy seems to exist in my own practice when merging this two idea.
So here's the second part. I'm not sure lately that I'm that great of a teacher. Now to be fair, I think at one time I was on a path that would have ended at me being a fairly skilled teacher. But as an administrator, I have been feeling that my teaching skills have at best plateaued and more realistically fallen. And I have all the excuses readily available when I need to justify this regression to myself. I don't have my own class of 30 for an entire year like before. I have other responsibilities that vie for my limited time. I often teach in areas that I have little training and/or passion for to accommodate the overall schedule of the school. And the list goes on. But when I'm being totally honest with myself, I know that I am not a great teacher. Somedays, I'm not even a good one.
There is one thing I do know. I will continue to reflect on this dilemma throughout my career. My decision to become an administrator was not a light one. Leaving the classroom on a full-time basis to work with an entire staff and school community was not easy, but I knew I wanted to be able to affect more children than the 30 that I taught each day. And working towards being an effective instructional leader as oppose to a great teacher is the means to that end.
I wonder if other administrators out there feel this internal dilemma between instructional leadership and personal teaching. And if so, how do you reconcile the conflict?