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Scott Taylor

Superintendent , Kenilworth Public School District

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Educational leadership

The Battle of Shiloh is considered by American historians as one of the bloodiest wartime fights of the modern era. General Ulysses S. Grant led his troops to Union victory and, as biographer Jean Edward Smith accounts in his highly respected, well researched 2001 book titled "Grant," showed a leadership trait that should be emulated by anyone who strives to win a "battle."

"A general imparts attitude to an army. It is not simply a matter of issuing orders, but infusing spirit and initiative. An inchoate bond develops between a successful commander and the army. His will becomes theirs...The men fought because they knew that Grant expected them to, and they trusted his judgment that they could do so."

The key to the relationship Grant forged with his troops was the success he showed in battle. The general is known to have lost as many battles as he won, but the "wins" he scored in the fighting were significant and game-changing.

Grant's soldiers followed him through thick and thin. I recognize, as an educational leader, that I will have to show successes before I can expect my "troops" to follow my vision. I realize the leaders, teachers, and parents in my schools will not support my work whole-heartedly unless I can prove that their adherence to my plans for student achievement will pay off in the end.

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    Jun 17 2013: One of my problems is I care too much for my students--at least for how the system is set up. Being wired to teach, I constantly give myself emotionally to my students. They do respond to this, but it wears me out. The problem isn't that teachers shouldn't give, but that they get little to no support in giving. In class I need to set the stage and create a positive environment. That is draining to one's emotional batteries. But, there is little in place in the system to help instructors recharge those batteries. Too often administrators don't nurture teachers. Instead they become another huge drain on the instructor. Those instructors that don't care just come to work, do what they're told and don't worry about fighting the system. Those that do care are constantly giving themselves to their students and instead of being supported by the system are constantly fighting the system on behalf of their students. I'm at the point I'm just tired of fighting the system.
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      Jun 17 2013: I agree this is a problem Brett. So, what are YOU doing to solve this problem if others cannot solve it for you? Do you have an outlet after work? Do you have colleagues with whom you connect on a regular basis who, like you, need a recharge?
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        Jun 17 2013: Scott--I do a ton of writing. I've written several books connected to education. One is called, "Learning is Fun, but Education Stinks". A second is geared towards the Christian community called, "Go Ye Therefore and Teach". The basic premise of both those books deals with the fact that how we are teaching is incongruent with how people learn. I've written another book called "Theater of the Mind" which explains how the conscious and subconscious mind work together in the creative process. If you check out my website there are other books, but those three have direct applications to education.

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