As a secondary math teacher I am constantly trying to teach my students how to be problem solvers. When a situation is presented, look for patterns from previous experiences, identify all of the pertinent information, and create a solution. This is a great skill to have and every student that graduates high school should have it mastered.
Once you are in the “real world” I feel that being a problem solver is no longer adequate. Yes, things will inevitably go wrong and people need to know how to fix them quickly and efficiently. What sets leaders apart is not just the ability to solve problems quickly, but to be able to find the potential problem before it happens and to put actions in place to prevent it from ever happening.
I am quickly learning in my educational leadership classes that there are so many different facets to every potential issue. There will be problems that cannot be avoided. As a educational leader, whether that is as an administrator or teacher leader, it is your job to be able to identify potential problems and determine if there is a prevention that can be put in place. This is why it is best to surround yourself with people who have a range of different abilities. Every problem can look different to the person viewing it, therefore don’t try to tackle them alone. When approaching these issues be consistent with your approach; student impact should always be top priority, but also consider how your solution may affect stakeholders as well.
Building a team to help access problems will help make any educational leader’s life easier. Don’t just have the administration team look at these potential problems. Have teachers, students, parents, and community members examine them as well. These are all people who may be affected by the issue at hand. Education is the future, and everyone should be involved in defining the best way to educate the next generation.