More often than not, teaching is the first role that comes to mind when considering an educational career. However, teachers are not the only ones who serve the school.
In fact, many administrators, principals, and other leadership faculty work behind the scenes alongside our classroom heroes, ensuring the quality of schools and other educational institutions.
Teacher leaders combine their classroom experience, interest in educational policy and management, and understanding of applied learning theories to serve the school system beyond the classroom.
Let’s take a closer look at this career path by examining five reasons why teacher leaders are essential and how students and other faculty members benefit from teacher leadership.
What is Teacher Leadership?
Teacher leadership, a set of skills demonstrated by educators who influence faculty and staff toward their full potential, facilitates positive development among policies, programs, school performance, colleagues, and communities.
These individuals have the unique ability to inform, inspire, and impact students and faculty members alike as they strive toward collaboration in order to carry out their school’s mission and message. Teacher leaders prioritize solving problems, listening to all perspectives, and building safe, effective learning environments for a stellar student learning experience.
Aspiring teacher leaders often pursue a Master’s in Education (M.Ed.) program in Teacher Leadership that provides the tools and skills needed to become educational change-makers. Graduates of Teacher Leadership programs go on to careers as:
- Curriculum specialists
- Educational administrators
- School principals
- Special education teachers
- University professors
- Career counselors
- Corporate trainers
Five Reasons Why Teacher Leaders are Essential and Beneficial to School Systems
Teacher leaders fill the gaps in school systems by stepping into various roles to further support school and student success.
1. Teacher Leaders are Resource Providers
Teacher leaders are resource providers passionate about sharing their knowledge and expertise with students and fellow teachers. They share websites, instructional materials, readings, articles, lesson plans, and other assessment tools.
They are generous with their time and expertise—including knowledge surrounding specialized subject areas such as mathematics, science, social-emotional learning, or social sciences—their teaching skills, such as teaching with technology or questioning strategies, and even their expertise in leadership by helping schools make data-driven decisions for their staff and students.
To do this, teacher leaders must get creative, dig deeper, and sharpen their skills to solve problems for the community.
2. Teacher Leaders are Curriculum and Instructional Specialists
Through adaptability, understanding of content standards, and curriculum knowledge in planning instruction and assessment, teacher leaders help colleagues implement effective teaching strategies.
All of these are essential to teacher and student success and ensure consistent curriculum implementation throughout a school and district.
One example is the adoption, implementation, and instruction of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which helps generate goal-directed students through innovative and interactive curricula. It also embraces individual learning differences and reduces and removes a student’s cognitive, intellectual, organizational, and physical barriers to learning and success.
Interested in using UDL principles to set your students up for success? Learn more about earning your M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership at Goodwin University!
3. Teacher Leaders are Classroom and Community Supporters
Teacher leaders significantly contribute and impact in and outside the classroom. Inside the classroom, teacher leaders help their fellow teachers implement new ideas by demonstrating lessons, co-teaching, and providing feedback through observation. Their commitment and motivation for the development of their colleagues and settings for students to thrive make teacher leaders an essential part of an educational institution.
Outside the classroom, they collaborate and foster connections with administrators, legislative leaders, parents, and the community. This often looks like leading committees and connecting outside of the school setting to discuss and find solutions to district, state, and national education issues. Through fostering these connections and shared interests, teacher leaders and the community stay energized and connected to each other and continue to achieve their goals.
4. Teacher Leaders are Trustworthy and Empathetic
Teacher leaders often play the mentor and role model for first-year and early career teachers, providing much-needed support, guidance, and advice.
In this role, they gain the trust of and develop empathy for others, creating safe, welcoming learning environments for other teachers and students.
Through this safe environment, teacher leaders enable others to achieve personal and school goals, achieve a sense of belonging, and strengthen everyone’s openness to learning and benevolence.
5. Teacher Leaders are Courageous Trailblazers and Risk-Takers
“No risk, no reward,” as they say. And teacher leaders have a reputation for a willingness to try—and sometimes fail—new ideas for their students and fellow teachers to succeed.
Teacher leaders volunteer for pilot projects and pursue professional development opportunities with the goal of sharing both their successes and failures. Failure is required for learning, and no one knows that more than teacher leaders.
Plus, by being the initial risk-taker, these leaders encourage others to do the same by going above and beyond the school’s status quo.
If you’re curious about taking the next step in your career in education by taking on these exciting and fulfilling responsibilities, consider earning a Master’s in Education (M.Ed.) in Teacher Leadership at Goodwin University.
Designed specifically for creative and analytical advocates and educators, our Teacher Leadership program develops the skills, techniques, and experiences necessary to increase students’ and teachers’ access to learning.
Plus, our flexible, 30-credit program is entirely online, ensuring you can fulfill your personal and professional responsibilities. Students can complete the program in as few as fifteen months, part-time, and up to six credits can be granted from prior learning as part of the Alternative Route to Certification.
Learn more. We’re ready when you are!