Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. — Before Michelle Rosser graduated in 1987 from Woodward High School, she swore she would not follow in the footsteps of her family and become an educator.
Now, 26 years later, it is her intense passion for education and children that has led her to co-author a new book that promises to help teachers bring the best of themselves to the classroom.
“Becoming an Integrated Educational Leader” published by Peter Lang of New York, is due to go to press in December, Rosser said.
It should be on shelves by February and in the classroom, we hope, by the fall (of 2014),” she said.
The book is already on a list for possible inclusion as a classroom text at least two universities, Rosser said.
Within three sentences, one can tell Rosser’s personal style is warm, energetic and just plain old country girl.
This, despite her years educating herself to a Ph. D. in educational psychology from University of Oklahoma and hours spent researching incredibly detailed aspects of leadership in educational settings.
Rosser is an assistant professor of psychology and applied behavioral science with Ashford University, a private, online accredited university based in Clinton, Iowa.
For the last three years she was on the faculty at University of Oklahoma, teaching courses in women’s gender studies and other organizational psychology courses.
But it was 8 years as a teacher in Texas public schools where her true love for the art of teaching emerged.
It is where she began to understand that what she was bringing to the classroom in a whole way - body mind and spirit - affected how she was able to help her students.
She also notes her students helped her learn the importance of being aware of her own current emotional status and her own emotional needs - the need to prepare to be a teacher.
“We don’t prepare our teachers that it is going to be tough,” Rosser said. “They get out of school and they are so excited and then they get in there and find out, it is tough. You have kids who don’t eat and have family stress and then there is you and your family your life and it is stressful.”
Rosser’s book explores a deeper understanding for teachers of both themselves and their own needs and how that ultimately impacts the needs and learning capacity of their students.
“I think it is really about how to really own your classroom and become a leader,” he said.
While it is a somewhat difficult concept to wrap one’s head around, the idea that how emotionally and intellectually mature and prepared a teacher is before he or she enters the classroom, has a direct and measureable effect on a student’s learning experience, she said.
It also has an impact on whether a teacher decides to remain in the field of education.
“The book is a triangular model that incorporates three fundaments that teachers need to really own their classrooms and become good leaders; cultural responsiveness, emotional intelligence and self-determination,” Rosser said.
Cultural responsiveness, Rosser said, is being able to remain open to diverse cultural needs, styles of communication and background experiences that can influence how effectively a student can digest what a teacher is presenting.
Emotional intelligence, she said, is about understanding your own needs and managing them and then at the same time, being aware of the needs of your students and helping to manage those as well.
Self-determination includes the ability for a teacher to be autonomous,efficacious and have a sense of belonging. She explained that efficacy is "really the confidence in one's own ability to teach."
Note; Some clarifications and corrections were made to this report on Oct. 30.