Although American schools have historically operated within a hierarchical structure,* today’s focus on teacher leadership is bringing additional skills, knowledge, and expertise to the table. It’s a valuable principal-teacher partnership that not only allows the goals of a school to be more easily met, but it has the power to improve student outcomes as well. As teacher leadership increasingly gains traction in America’s schools, the students, teachers, and principals are benefiting from the shared responsibility.
Teacher leadership incorporates a teacher’s skills, knowledge, and expertise in helping their school achieve its main goal: providing opportunities for all students to succeed. No longer isolated in the classroom and from one another, teachers join the ranks of decision makers and use their influence to help shape instructional leadership and strengthen key areas of responsibility within the school. Though the roles and responsibilities of teacher leaders exceed their regular classroom duties, the added work in support of the partnership produces measurable and impactful outcomes and creates a sense of pride and satisfaction for those involved.*
Principals need legal, financial, data, and personnel management knowledge to meet the daily challenges of school administration, as well as the instructional leadership skills required to improve student outcomes. Gone are the days when one person could do it all and do it well, consistently garnering positive results without compromise. Principals need to seek support from their school community. Here are four ways principals benefit from teacher leadership:
Principals who realize that student learning is a shared responsibility and who recruit a group of passionate educators to be part of their leadership team make a substantial difference in the lives of others.
Whether your passion is to enhance your leadership skills while remaining in the classroom or to become an administrator, Walden University offers online MSEd programs to meet your goals. Build your leadership and mentoring skills with the online MS in Education with a specialization in Teacher Leadership (Grades K–12). You can also choose to develop the management, leadership, and advanced instructional skills needed to become an effective principal with an MS in Education (MSEd). Walden University’s online MSEd with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Administration (Principal Licensure Preparation) is designed for aspiring educational leaders who want to create a collaborative school community committed to improving student achievement.
*J. Burgess and D. Bates, Other Duties as Assigned, “Shared Leadership,” on the internet at http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/109075/chapters/Shared-Leadership.aspx.
†The Wallace Foundation, Shared Leadership: Effects on Teachers and Students of Principals and Teachers Leading Together, on the internet at www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/pages/1_2-shared-leadership-learning-from-leadership.aspx#key-findings.
‡The Wallace Foundation, The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning, on the internet at www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/The-School-Principal-as-Leader-Guiding-Schools-to-Better-Teaching-and-Learning-2nd-Ed.pdf.