Friday, January 31, 2014

being a leader

As new teachers, sometimes you are called upon to be a leader. Whether or not you feel confident in this role, this sometimes happens. You may bring to your job some expertise from your preservice education, or if you are a second career teacher, experience from your previous work life. Teachers are leaders every day, both in and out of the classroom.

Teachers are leaders in multiple ways. They might be the go-to for resource ideas, perhaps they are an instructional leader in classroom management techniques. Maybe because you are the math or reading specialist, or got a STEM certificate, you are a curriculum specialist and can help others build content and curriculum knowledge. And often, new teachers are tapped for their energy and enthusiasm to lead committees and student groups, so you might serve on a building or district committee. Or perhaps you model life-long learning. All of these are important leadership roles for teachers.

There is a real need for teacher leaders these days. The shift to Common Core State Standards and, therefore, new state assessments, means a need for adjustments in curriculum, instruction, and assessment. But also, teachers know the daily concerns of P-12 teaching. And there is a need to problem-solve the current challenges that students, families, and teachers face. With changes in teacher evaluation and accountability, we need teacher voices at the table.

And one of the goals for education P-16 is to teach children & teens to become leaders. What makes a great leader? A previous post on critical thinking is a good start. Good leaders can think critically about problems. They "start with why." Lots of teachers and administrators are talking about the book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek and his corresponding TED talk. Education Week has many resources for teacher leaders with their Teacher Leader Network.

In what ways are you a teacher leader? What support and resources do you need to lead well? Share your


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