Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.
My first Principal, Steve, was truly dedicated to the school, staff, students, community, profession and to me. Less than 3 years into my first teaching job, I was in his office and he told me that he was retiring at the end of the year. I felt gutted and had to take a moment to swallow down the lump in my throat. Fast forward to the day that final interviews were taking place to find our new Principal I remember a conversation:
Me: “How are you feeling?”
Steve: “It does feel a bit strange.”
Me: “You will never be forgotten though.”
Steve: “Dan, one thing that you will learn is that schools quickly move on and I will quickly be forgotten.”
That thought resonated with me for a long time and saw that it was the case, with the students at least. However, the impact that Steve had on my career, way of thinking, philosophy of education, the influence of a Principal on staff has been huge. This conversation happened 7 years ago but I still always talk about the influence of Steve and use many of his sayings, quotes, and ideals as I attempt to influence others.
I was very lucky to have a fantastic second Principal, Lee – promoted from being Vice Principal, who was different in his leadership style but believed in me and was a huge influence, and his support no doubt significantly contributed to my success in securing my first job as a senior leader. Like Steve, I regularly allow Lee’s thoughts, philosophy, and belief of education to enter my thoughts when considering policies and leadership.