Cornerstones of Change: Roles and Qualities of Teacher Leaders
By: M. Pierce
Word Count of Article: 2200
The purpose of the paper is to examine different types of teacher leaders and examine their possible roles in our schools and effect on our educational system. Herein, I focus on the teacher leadership qualities of collaboration, ethics, trust, vision, decisiveness, and thirst for knowledge. Furthermore, I present the notion that teacher are the heart of change, not only because they are the people who instill the change but through shared leadership model it. In achieving this aim, I describe how leadership qualities can facilitate educational reform ...view middle of the document...
Namely, these changes call up teachers to uphold new levels of leadership.
In school where transformational leadership is present, administrators recognize that leadership practices are part of the social make-up of the school and are interconnected to everyday interactions that take place (Spillane, 2004). The leadership of a team leader, department head may help greatly to maintain trust and a positive climate during the turbulent times of curriculum implementation (Gabriel, 2005).
As Gabriel stated, teacher leaders no matter their role formal or informal, are leaders into four broad areas: influencing the school culture, building, and maintaining a successful team, equipping other potential teacher leaders, and enhancing or improving student achievement. A fifth aspect of teacher leadership relates to the teacher being the change agent for the school community.
The purpose of the paper is to examine different types of teacher leaders and examine their possible roles in our schools and effect on our educational system. As mentioned above, I present the leadership qualities of collaboration, ethics, trust, vision, decisiveness, and thirst for knowledge (Marzano & al., 2005) that are at the focal point of the teacher’s mission. As well, I present the idea that teachers are the heart of change, because they are the people who not only instill the change but model it. In achieving this aim, I describe how these required qualities can facilitate educational reform centered on the present generation of learners.
Roles for Teacher Leaders
Transformational leaders often seek the support of teachers who show passion for their work, are dynamic, creative, resourceful, risk-takers, and able to influence others, to work as a team to tackle the challenge of demanding reforms. With educators being held accountable for student outcomes, some schools have chosen to abandon traditional teacher leadership, to implement shared leadership. Some of the traditional roles and more formal roles changes allow teachers to assume a more collaborative role (Martin, 2007; Wilhelm, 2013). In distributed leadership practices or shared leadership practices, ones must acknowledge that there are several sources of influence within the school. When principals and teachers share leadership, students’ achievements are higher (Wahlstrom et al., 2010).
Heads of department in high schools and team leaders in primary schools
Teacher leaders can hold the traditional role of department chairs or grade-level representatives who fulfill specific responsibilities and meet regularly with the school principal or vice-principal to discuss some bureaucratic or organizational issues. They may also go beyond taking information back to their respective groups, conducting a survey, or testing the water concerning a new policy. As an example, in Finland, rather than pressuring teachers to follow prescribed programs, the education system encourages professional responsibility,...