Pie-in-the-Sky vs Realistic Hope – First of the Four Virtues of Leadership

A culture comes to exist and is passed on when the people within a group understand their group’s purposes and ‘live their values’ on a daily basis. School cultures are no different. So if leadership is action as discussed in my last journal entry then leaders must be the ones to live the values the ‘loudest’ or as others call it ‘walk the talk’.

Fullan (2004) lists three vital personal characteristics that  when practised by leaders are infectious: Hope, Energy and Enthusiasm. Sergiovanni (2005) suggests there are four leadership virtues that when embodied will give a leader leverage to transform a school culture: Hope, Trust, Piety and Civility. Both recommended cultivating them in order to be more effective.

Hope can seem a bit ‘pie in the sky’ in the face of all the change in the world of education and especially in the current climate of uncertainty in the TL’s world. But I liked the definition Sergiovanni turned to in his fourth chapter– it was termed realistic hope.

… is based on the attempt to understand the concrete conditions of reality, to see one’s own role in it realistically, and to engage in such efforts of thoughtful action as might be expected to bring about the hoped for change (Menninger, Mayman and Pruyser, as cited in Sergiovanni, 2005, p. 78).

I see examples of this every day from Teacher-Librarians through discussions on  the OZTL_Net listserv forum and through the efforts of advocacy groups like The Hub, ALIA and SLAV.  It definitely doesn’t look like ‘pie’; its hard work, like writing to politicians, it’s getting the message out to the media and to busy parents and new parents who don’t yet know the importance of TLs to their children’s futures.  Its true– hope is infectious. These efforts have affected me and I must do my best to create a similar feeling in my school community.

Hope implies action, here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • write a fortnightly piece in the school newsletter – always included is something about educational benefits of the library program
  • feedback to parents when their child takes up a new interest/topic in their reading or gains some new insight through a book. I encourage them to talk to their child about it.
  • started and maintain our school Hotspots site which is a pathfinder for each of the classes’ themes on a blog fully accessible from their homes. I mention the URL frequently in the newsletter and remind the kids to use it at home.
  • organised an author event that included parents – what a success this was in bringing the whole community together over quality children’s literature.


Picture from: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/?display=21586&


Fullan, M. (2004). Leading in a culture of change: Personal action guide and workbook. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Sergiovanni, T. (2005). Hope, Trust, Community, Other Virtues. In Strengthening the heartbeat: Leading and learning together in schools (pp. 75-100). San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.

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