Am I a teacher leader?
This is a question I asked myself when I was about 5 years into my teaching career, and to be honest, the answer then was, “Nope…not so much.”
At that point, I knew I was good at my job, but that “goodness” pretty much remained within the four walls of my classroom.
While I believe that EVERY teacher is a leader, I didn’t consider myself a “teacher leader” because I wasn’t yet making an intentional effort to drive this dynamic profession forward. In fact, the mere thought of doing so intimidated me. I was still young(ish). I wasn’t very outspoken. And, I DREADED being in front of groups of adults. In my mind, how could I be a teacher leader if I didn’t feel comfortable leading in that way?
It was then that I was transferred to another school due to allocations. I viewed this move as the perfect opportunity to start a new chapter in my career.
I began taking on new roles and responsibilities that pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone. I shared. I supported. I served. I coached. I challenged. I learned. I grew. I found my voice. And, lo and behold, I realized that I could lead and empower others, in a variety of ways, and not just in that “you gotta be outspoken” kind of way.
So, my question for you is, are you a teacher leader? If you’re still relatively new, store these questions in a mental file to revisit later and just focus on steering your own ship through the stormy seas. However, if you’re an experienced, masterful, and passionate teacher, please reflect. We need teachers like you to leverage your impact for the greater good!
- Do I positively contribute to my school culture and climate?
- Do I seek unique ways to share my knowledge and expertise with others?
- Am I an active participate in local, state, and/or nation-wide educational organizations?
- Do I work with administrative leaders to improve school practices?
- Do I facilitate professional learning activities?
- Am I an effective mentor?
- Do I lead after-school activities for students?
- Am I a life-long learner who implements and promotes best practices for ALL children?
- Do I keep my classroom door open and welcome others to observe my teaching?
- Do I keep abreast with educational policies and advocate for students and the profession?
- Do I seek funding for materials or special projects via grant writing?
- Do I collaborate with community members and groups to elevate learning?
- Do I work well in a team and seek input from every member?
- Do I find ways to celebrate others?
- Am I innovative?
- Do I inspire?
- Am I eager to serve?
- Do I lead by example?
- Am I solutions-driven?
- Do I always strive to keep students’ best interests in mind?
As you can see, teacher leadership comes in different ways, shapes, and forms. And it’s not simply a list of extras. It’s an expansion of influence to benefit students locally or even globally. If teachers don’t blaze the trail, who will?
Please share any insights you have about teacher leadership below. Thanks everyone!