The world is witnessing various changes in the education sector. With the change comes challenges for its stakeholders. Today we will be discussing the context of teachers and their role as leaders
Meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse student population is a challenge that requires the cooperation of teachers as well as school administrators and education professionals.
As frontline professionals in student learning, educators/teachers/instructors are encouraged to adopt teacher leadership as a practice to bring about meaningful change in school facilities.
Teachers who guide in and out of the classroom
A Google search for ‘teacher leadership’ defines an educator who not only teaches but also takes on additional roles outside the classroom to improve school performance. You will find the term While this is an accurate description, In general, teacher leaders are characterized by their ability to lead others in all roles in the school.
“Teacher leadership leads inside and outside the classroom. Teachers can be leaders in modeling best practices. Other teachers see what they are doing, so they
“Teacher leadership leads inside and outside the classroom,” school leaders resonate more when it is passed on from one educator to another.
Teaching Guide Knows How to Work Effectively with scholars and adults as well
one of the biggest misconceptions educators have about teacher leadership is that peers are taught in the same way as students. That’s what many believe it should be. Skills that educators acquire through years of classroom practice are valuable, but not always transferable.
Learning how to communicate effectively, take initiative, and share expertise are some of the skills that set teachers apart as leaders.
Teacher Leaders are the change agents in their school
There’s no doubt that the role of a school principal is essential, but you don’t have to be an administrator to make an impact at your school. It’s important for educators to understand what it means to be a leader and how they can use their talents and expertise to lead others.
Hence a teacher leader stands for
Domain of Expertise
Teacher leaders share their expertise. Expertise can take the form of specific content knowledge or skills (e.g. mathematics, social-emotional learning) or educational skills (e.g. teaching with technology, questioning strategy). Their expertise can also come in the form of leadership skills (e.g. helping teams build consensus, and making data-driven decisions).
While sharing expertise, the teacher leader gains expertise as the team progresses professionally to solve the problems they have identified. They seek to learn from their peers – believing that group collective knowledge is essential to successful teaching and student learning – and continue to build their knowledge and skills.
Subject teachers are not always teacher leaders. However, building expertise is essential to becoming a teacher leader.
Teacher leaders are great communicators. An important leadership skill for teachers is their ability to prioritize listening over speaking and try to understand different perspectives. Instructor leaders clarify, review, and integrate ideas and questions to understand concerns and leverage the expertise of others. They also strive for open communication where all ideas are heard and all possibilities are explored. Teacher leaders want to solve problems by getting groups to think outside the box.
One of the essential qualities of their communication is honesty. Teacher leaders communicate in a professional and honest manner, reflecting on what works and what does not. Instead of avoiding difficult conversations, admit where you made mistakes and where you need to change.
Those involved in educational leadership are familiar with the concept of transformational leaders. Transformational leaders collaborate with others to solve problems and implement and oversee strategic initiatives. Transformational leaders believe that everyone has an important contribution to make and everyone needs to be involved, so they inspire everyone to do their best. It is the core of effective leadership and not easy to master.
Inspirational Teacher Leaders engage their peers not because they feel they have to, but because they want to. They take risks, solve complex problems, and make changes as wisely as possible.
This inspiring role of teacher leaders is important and often overlooked. Teacher leaders are peers, not bosses, so successful leadership depends on other teachers wanting to follow their example.
Agent of Change
While most teachers are professionals with effective communication skills, teacher leaders differentiate themselves by being agents of change. They take the initiative and are committed to success. Education is a profession that constantly “reforms” and responds to social, economic, and political change.
This constant change makes being a teacher exciting and demanding. That is why teacher leadership is so important. All schools need teachers to “lean on” when changes occur.
Changes may be made by school district administrators (principals, superintendents, boards of education) or by government mandates, such as new state or federal laws.
Changes may also be required within grade-level teams or departments, with a focus on helping specific groups of students. Change can be initiated when teacher leaders themselves realize that things need to be done differently. If teachers are agents of change, they transform schools, communities, and professional communities by supporting (and in turn inspiring) others to make changes that have a meaningful and positive impact on their students.
Teacher leaders are pioneers. They are first-time adopters and are happy to try new ideas and discover invisible “holes” in new initiatives. They volunteer in pilot projects and pursue professional development opportunities to learn more. This enables you to improve your practices, share your experiences, collaborate with others to solve problems and achieve your team’s goals.
An important part of this exploratory quality is for teacher leaders to share their vulnerabilities by speaking openly about their successes and failures.
They demonstrate integrity, an important part of building trust, by sharing their failures and “hard lessons” with their peers and encouraging them to follow the path they have begun to blaze.
All teachers need to explore more and this can start with new teachers.