Parent Leadership
Important Questions for Teachers

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Some principles:

  • Behind every great person in history, you will find either great parents or a great teacher, often both.

  • A leader is a "dealer in hope"—one who projects toward the future and persuades others to join (not just follow) in some interesting, challenging collective enterprise.

  • An education is what you have left over after you've forgotten the "material."

  • Young people grow in character by imitating (usually unconsciously) adults whose character they admire. Hence the importance of a teacher's example.

  • Young people do not grow up when they can take care of themselves—but rather when they can take care of others, and want to.
  1. Do I have a sense of "vocation" about my teaching career? Do I strive to be an excellent professional—enjoying (as Aristotle put it) "the full use of one's powers along lines of excellence"?

  2. How do I expect each of my students to change for the better, and for life, as a result of my professional service? How am I working to improve their character strengths of sound judgment, sense of responsibility, tough-minded perseverance, self-mastery, and heart (compassion, magnanimity)?

  3. To look at it another way, what am I doing to help them internalize lifelong attitudes and habits essential to their later success and ethical uprightness—integrity, powers of sustained effort, realistic self-confidence, regard for others' rights, respect for learning and intellectual accomplishment, a spirit of service and collaboration, ideals of professionalism?

  4. Do I foster a sense of collaborative accomplishment ("We...") in our classwork? How do I convey a sense of progress to them, that they are growing steadily in some powers that will benefit them and others throughout their lives? Do I help them project their lives forward toward the challenges of the next 50 years?

  5. Do my students know what is expected of them? Are my rules reasonable, clear, and fair? Am I quick to admit mistakes and make apologies where necessary, showing that I value truth and justice above my pride?

  6. Do I reflect deeply about the strengths, unsuspected gifts, and possibilities of each student, especially those in the middle of the class, who are often overlooked?

  7. Do I try to maintain reasonably frequent contact with the parents of each student—and see this as an essential part of my professional service?

  8. What works would I recommend to parents and gifted students who wished to know more about my field of interest?

Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this material for non-commercial use.
It is taken from the Website of James B. Stenson, educational consultant:

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James B. Stenson
Educational Consultant
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts


Listen to a speech by James Stenson: "Successful Fathers" (new)

Organizing and Running
a Parent Discussion Group


Advice for Fathers (new)

Born to Serve, Not to Shop--
Effective Parenting in a Nutshell

Danger Signs: Families Headed for Trouble

How Does a Father Protect His Family?

Table Manners for the Home

A Father's Unity of Life

Professionalism & Workplace Savvy

The Vision of Parent Leaders

Family Rules: The Power of "We..."

Discipline: What Works and Why

Coming Down the Home Stretch--
How Parents Deal Effectively with their Adolescent Children

For educators:

The Headmaster as Leader: Notes about Leading a Secondary School for Boys

Practical Handbook for Teachers: Some Notes of Experience about Teaching

Important Questions for Teachers

What is a Good School?