In the Logic & Rhetoric School, eighth grade students and above are invited to take an extracurricular leadership class that meets during lunch. Led by Principal Webb, this class is a prerequisite for house leadership, and it strives to help students become positive leaders in the Regents community.
What is your goal in leadership class?
“My goal in the leadership class is to help students think about the natural amount of influence that they have with everyone around them - whether they have a title or not - and to learn how to steward their influence with intentionality,” says Christopher Webb. “We talk about self-awareness and the difference between being a thermostat versus a thermometer. That’s always the most remembered lesson of the year. A thermometer tells you the temperature, but a thermostat sets it. I challenge students to think through who are the thermostats in their lives? Who are the teachers or other students who depending on how they are acting, you will match them?”
What are some things students learn in leadership class?
“We talk about different images of leadership. How is being a gardener similiar to being a leader? How does being an ambassador teach us something about being a leader? What about being a shepherd? How do we cultivate the selflessness required to not pick favorites among the people we’re leading, to stand in the gap for them, to know them relationally?”
How has leadership changed over the last four years in the Logic and Rhetoric Schools?
“I started teaching this class four years ago when the current junior and seniors were in eighth and ninth grade. Back then, our school was smaller, and a lot of those students immediately graduated into house leadership. Now, students typically take this class but there’s a period of time where they are asked to implement what they learn before spots open up in house leadership. What does this really mean to be a leader without the title? I think that is a new thing. Another difference I have seen over time is that the language of leadership is becoming more embedded in the day-to-day life of our school as more students embrace this class.
What are your hopes for leadership in the Rhetoric School?
“I hope everyone in the Rhetoric School lives like a leader whether they have a title or not. That means living with a great deal of ownership of the physical space and how they take care of it, and stewarding relationships in positive ways.”
Do you have any suggestions to learn more about cultivating leadership in young people?