To be effective at communication, we need to define two terms, often confused with each other: these terms are power and authority. Both power and authority are often naively defined as having control over others. Power, however, has nothing to do with others. Power can be defined as the control that we exercise over ourselves. Power is granted to each individual by virtue of the fact that we are human beings and deserve respect and deserve the opportunity to exercise some control over our own lives. If one tries to exercise power over another, this is very unhealthy and is really about trying to control another. Authority, on the other hand, can be defined through relationships and is granted by social structure, and therefore comes with a great deal of responsibility. In its healthiest form, authority is a partnership in which all people involved, leaders and followers, understand their roles and through that partnership live a productive and creative life. The Harriton Banner, Harriton High School's newspaper, of which I am faculty adviser, recently published an article that made everyone feel very uncomfortable. Some might view this as exercising power over a community by telling it something that is very uncomfortable to hear. By this definition, the newspaper places itself in position over the community and becomes nothing more than a preachy institution, the type of institution that over-populates our society as it is. Yet, The Harriton Banner exercises no power if it is to be a vital part of our community. It is, however, granted authority by the school district and community that it serves. The paper also is granted authority by various Supreme Court rulings on freedom of the press. With this heavy authority comes heavy responsibility. My hope is, that by publishing a challenging article, that we do not set ourselves above our community, but honestly share in the joys and challenges of a community to which we belong and to which we owe our authority.
The paradoxical truth is that I have at the same time been a very creative person and one stuck in the safety of the familiar. I suppose that's true of most of us. Although my life as a teacher seems to be pretty standard, I find the excitement of being the student (or simply learning things) to give me so much of a rush. I love being a student and I hope that this comes across in my teaching of high school classes (English, Community-Based Learning) and my teaching of college classes (English, Education).
Teacher Harriton High School, Rosemont, PA Assignments: English; Community-Based Learning Coordinator; Senior Project Coordinator; Site Coordinator for Virtual High School; Technology Mentor
Delaware County Community College, Chester County Campus Assignments: English; Education
Education Providence College, B.A., English Rosemont College, M.Ed., Technology in Education Plymouth State University, Working toward M.Ed in Online Learning and Teaching