#HealthyLeadership header image 1

Teachers as Leaders, Coaches & Lifelong Mentors with Lydia Dolch

August 10, 2014

Do you remember your 5th grade teachers?  

Would you say that any of your 5th grade teachers made a lifelong impression on your life?

Today’s guest is doing just that! 

Lydia Dolch, a teacher and consultant in Ithaca NY joined me to discuss a #FutureLeaders session we conducted with her 5th grade class earlier this year.  It's never too early to start the intentional journey of leadership development and working with Lydia and her class was a great example of this fact.   

During the session, we provided the students a shared vocabulary and tools that helped them understand how positive leadership can enable them to lead through many of the challenges they are already facing at school, in the playground, and at home. 


As Lydia explained during the show, activities like the medicine wheel and the exploding seltzer bottle, helped the students learn leadership principles like conflict management, courage and forgiveness as they explored how to interact with others who see the world from a different perspective and have different strengths.  

On The Fitness Minute I focused on how we need to take a page from sports coaching and apply it to teachers coaching students on leadership development. We have all kinds of bullying issues in our schools and our workplace.  Research report after research report shows that bullying is a growing epidemic with horrible consequences around the world.

Well, guess what folks? We need leadership development to address these difficult issues! 

Without positive leadership, aggression and conflict will attract our younger set and start the process of developing the bad habits that plague the workplace today!


We can start the process of leadership coaching IN the classroom. All this takes is an intentional approach and tools that teachers can use to teach leadership as part of their curriculum! 

Just like we coach our kids on the court, track or wrestling mat, we need to coach them on how to lead positive change and avoid the inferior behaviors that come so easily with aggression and unmanaged conflict.  

Like I say in many of my shows, easy to say, and very hard to do.  

During the session with Lydia's class, as we focused on differentiating abrasive behavior from bullying behavior, Lydia explained the difference with a wonderful SANDPAPER analogy.  

sandpaperwithLydia.jpgOne of the key takeaways from the #FutureLeaders session, is to help students understand that abrasive students are not necessarily bullies.  This is a key distinction as abrasive and bullying behaviors need to be managed differently. 

Of course, both of these behaviors can be minimized when students realize how they can lead away from unintentional abrasive tendencies and intentional bullying attacks. 

Working with teachers who care so deeply about the development of our children is instrumental in the effort of developing future leaders as early as possible.  

Until next time, I leave you with two questions to ponder:

Are you a good leader?  And how do you know?

Self-reflection can be painful but as they say, no pain no gain.  

Thanks for sharing everyone!