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Teacher Leadership Characteristics- My Views
Teachers are natural leaders. It is part of the job description, but leadership does not begin and end in the classroom. Teacher leaders are dedicated lifelong learners. A teacher leader is one who participates in professional organizations and professional development in order to improve teaching practices. A teacher leader is one who collaborates with colleagues and mentors others. A teacher leader works closely with students, parents, colleagues, administrators and members of the community to build relationships of mutual trust. According to the article Forms of Teacher Leadership “Teachers encourage mothers, fathers, and other adults to be involved in schools as well as give ideas to better link schools and home” (1998). In addition, the article discusses “creating partnerships with the community, creating partnerships with business and organizations, and becoming leaders in the community” as ways teachers can take on leadership roles. “Teachers lead community groups and organizations. By doing so teachers and their schools gain support; as residents get to know teachers and schools better, their confidence in them improves. Teachers who become involved in the community also come to understand it better, which helps them address the needs of their students more effectively” (1998).
Teacher leaders are decision makers in their own classrooms as well as in their buildings, school districts, states and/or nations. They serve on committees dealing with curriculum, professional development, faculty interviews, extracurricular activities and so much more. A teacher leader is one who advocates for proper materials, proper facilities, and proper class sizes in order to give students the most optimal learning environment possible. Teacher leaders teach the whole child and help each child reach their maximum potential, regardless of abilities, challenges, or circumstances. A teacher leader acts professionally and ethically and demonstrates sounds judgment as well as the ability to problem solve in even the toughest situations.
Teacher leaders know their students as well as the standards by which those students will be measured. Teacher leaders differentiate instruction and do whatever it takes to reach and teach every student in their classrooms daily. Teacher leaders are positive and information seeking, and are willing to take risks and try new things if it will make a difference or an impact. Another point from Forms of Teacher Leadership, states that teacher leaders “[define] what students need to know and be able to do… teacher [leaders] have developed academic standards and rewritten the curriculum and assessments to reflect the new standards” (1998). This means that teachers evaluate curriculum regularly and write and/or use assessments that are relevant and meaningful.
As an educator, I feel that I either possess or am working toward each of these characteristics. I take on many leadership roles within my building and my district as a committee chairperson, curriculum writer, grant writer and recipient, child and educational advocate and as I regularly collaborate with colleagues to plan and reflect. I have mentored a student teacher and I have been a part of the interview process as a round table interviewer for teacher candidates in our school. I am a member of our PTA board, which allows me to further reach out to parents and create relationships within our community. Teacher leaders sometimes have to take the road less traveled. I always speak for what I believe in and I am willing to take an unpopular stand if it means giving kids what they need to successful and achieve their personal best.
Teacher leaders are reflective practitioners and are always looking for ways to take something good and make it great, to take something great and make it amazing, and to take something amazing and make it extraordinary.
Forms of teacher leadership (1998). Retrieved May 13, 2010 from: Teachers leading the way: voices from the national teacher forum - April 1998.
Wynne, J. (2001). Teachers as leaders in education reform. ERIC Digest. Washington, DC: ERIC. (ERIC Document No.ED462376.) Retrieved December 15, 2005, fromhttp://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/0000000b/80/2a/35/28.pdf