Student's View: Why Student Leadership is Important in Education

(Views On Leadership) Permanent link   All Posts

Student's View: Why Student Leadership is Important in Education

By Tatiana Le, student intern, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Anyone can say that student leadership is important in education, but the harder part is explaining why.

First, to be blunt, leadership experience is essential for students to be competitive as they apply for jobs, college and scholarships. In almost every college interview I had, I was asked to tell a story depicting a time where I stepped up as leader. If the interviewer wanted to stump me, they’d ask me to describe a time where I “solved a problem” or “accomplished something I was proud of.” My job was to fluently deliver a story that was genuine, unique and most importantly, that showed off my skills as an innovator and leader. Those stories can’t be told without experience.

Past the surface though, student leadership is crucial in building confidence. So many students struggle to stand up for themselves when it matters most to them. In class, students listen to their teachers and the rubrics they receive. At home, they listen to their parents, their grandparents and their older siblings. If I didn’t push myself to run for office positions and speak out, I could have easily found myself doing nothing but listening to people throughout high school, whether on a sports team, in a club or in a group project.

I remember one of my best friends in high school constantly complaining about how our honor societies had become husks; applications ceased to be selective and members faked their service hours to earn cords to wear at graduation. As much as she was frustrated, she never ran for president. She never spoke to the society sponsors or the school administration because she thought she could never change it. She complained to me and not the rest of the student body because she thought that everyone else was content with the situation when the reality was, there were other students fed up with the system too. They were all just waiting for a leader to come along because it was easier to wait.

Academic Quiz Bowl Tournament

Students should not feel powerless in an institution that is supposed to empower them. However, when they feel they are trapped in situations where they have no say, it’s no wonder why they prefer to obey, get their good grades and get out. Not to say that there is no room for followers. Every leader needs strong followers to get anything done, but that strength comes from the confidence of knowing that you are a leader in your own way. You are not following to follow, but you are following because you believe in the leader’s ideas and you know you can step up and lead if you disagree.

I built my confidence as captain of the academic quiz bowl team. There is nothing more terrifying to me than being tested in front of people whose jobs are to score your mistakes. I had to do that, and I had to have the guts to tell other people they should try it too.

There are many other benefits to student leadership that I can’t talk about in a single blog post like teamwork, interpersonal skills, responsibility, organizational skills and communication. Bottom line is that I think every student needs experience in a meaningful leadership position where they have the resources ability to make the change they want to make. That’s just how I grow best as a student and become life-ready.



Leave a comment
Name *
Email *