Students need teacher heroes and teachers need leader heroes


It has been good to reflect on a keynote from Dr Russell Quaglia about student aspirations. One of key points that I took away was that our students need to have both confidence and belief. This oftentimes comes from the teachers in their lives who inspire students to achieve great things. Many teachers are heroes to the students we teach and we need to remind ourselves of that.

The connection that a student can make with a teacher hero can be profound. Here are five ways that our students look up to their teachers:

  1. Perseverance and overcoming challenges – Teachers are able to share with students examples from their personal lives as to how they overcame adversity in those darkest of hours
  2. Giving examples of where things went wrong and why – The best lessons from teachers are often about how we learn from our mistakes
  3. Demonstrating humility – Talk about your achievements but avoid bragging
  4. Care and courtesy – Our daily interactions with students can really show how much we value these qualities that students should aspire to have
  5. Being open-minded – Where teachers display an ability to look at things from a variety of perspectives and / or willing to try new things in their lessons

In the same vein, educational leaders, are heroes who inspire teachers. As Dr. Quaglia says “Schools have a responsibility to support ‘dreaming and doing.’” It does not matter that we may not quite be Superman or Wonder Woman, there a hero in all of us that matters to both our students and our colleagues.


Published by Richard Bruford

Richard is currently Secondary School Principal of Suzhou Singapore International School, one of China's leading international schools. He leads workshops across the Asia-Pacific region for the International Baccalaureate in the areas of pedagogical leadership and approaches to teaching and learning. Richard consults with schools on the topics of school improvement and effective implementation and use of technology. With a background in public and independent school education in the UK and Australia, Richard is enjoying his international school adventure in China. He is passionate about developing and supporting educational leaders, as it is essential to improving all schools. Richard is a proud family man and feels lucky to be married to Kim and father of their son Austin. In his spare time Richard enjoys to swim, bike and run and is a now retired football player and coach (with occasional guest appearances)

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