Challenging Hierarchy: Narrative Ruminations on Leadership in Education

  • Carl Leggo UBC
Keywords: educational leadership, hierarchy, narrative


Everybody involved in education is a potential educational leader. Consequently, leadership is everybody’s responsibility, either in a designated role of leadership or in supporting those in formal positions of leadership. This essay invites readers to consider the value of telling stories about our lived experiences with educational leadership. We as educators need to learn how to engage in dialogue with one another, how to support one another, and how to live creatively with one another. We need new stories, more complex, intricate, and eloquent narratives that conceive, compose, and imagine our relationships with one another. We need new myths or at least we need to engage in a process of constantly reviewing and revising the myths that we live by. Our lives in schools and outside schools are located (called together) in stories. So, in this essay, I offer a few stories from a long life of teaching, stories that I anticipate might raise questions for educators about how we compose and sustain more creative relationships among all of us in our different roles. I focus on heart, humility, health, and hope as four familiar concepts in teaching and learning in order to contribute to a conversation that is ongoing, always in process, and never definitive. As educators, we need to communicate, respond to, evaluate, and transform our stories by infusing our pedagogy with heart, humility, health, and hope. Our stories shape our identities, compose our relationships, and create possibilities for learning to live well with one another.

Keywords: educational leadership; hierarchy; narrative