The best teachers do a lot more than stand in front of a classroom and give lectures. They help improve the overall quality of their schools, tackling everything from literacy programs to curriculum development. These exceptional teachers are often called teacher leaders—and with the right preparation and teaching credentials, you can enter teacher leadership, too.
The Need for Teacher Leadership
Teacher leaders are teachers who use specialized skills to provide added value to their students and school. Through collaboration with others in the school, teacher leaders develop and/or run programs and initiatives focused on their area of specialization. Teacher collaboration strategies vary from school-to-school and even from teacher-to-teacher, but the goal is to help improve educational outcomes for the entire school. Instead of each teacher having to individually handle a myriad of educational topics and projects, teacher leaders provide issue-specific frameworks that give others needed guidance, assistance, and/or resources. This makes teacher leaders a vital part of any school.
What Are Some Common Teacher Leadership Collaborations?
If you would like to take on more responsibility and become a teacher leader in your school, here are some areas that often need teacher leadership:
Reading and Literacy: At the elementary level and the broader K–12 level, students who fall behind in reading and literacy can benefit from special attention. Your collaboration can include everything from curriculum adjustments to intervention strategies.
Mathematics: With the modern focus on STEM, math education at the K–6 grade level and the 5–8 grade level is increasingly important. Collaborations can include improving teaching strategy and employing educational technology.
Science: As with math, science education is a vital part of preparing students for future STEM careers, with education at the K–8 grade level being particularly important. Your collaboration can include everything from developing new instruction methods to establishing/improving lab space.
Technology: The right technology in the classroom can help students learn, but many teachers lack an understanding of which technologies are best. You can collaborate with fellow teachers to find and utilize educational technology that’s truly effective.
Cultural Engagement: Classrooms in the U.S. are becoming increasingly diverse. By leading a collaboration to better teach culturally diverse learners, you can help keep your school modern and effective.
Special Education: By collaborating to provide educational services to your school’s special education students, you can help improve the education—and lives—of a vulnerable student population.
English Language Learning: Most schools enroll students who have recently immigrated to the U.S. Through collaborations designed to help English language learners, you can make sure every student receives a good education.
Curriculum Development: Developing an effective curriculum can be challenging. You can help your fellow teachers and school by collaborating with others to design subject matter that enhances student understanding and competencies.
How Do You Gain Teacher Leadership Skills?
One of the most effective ways to gain teacher leadership skills—and put yourself in position to collaborate with others—is to earn a Master of Science in Education (MSEd). A master’s in education is part teaching degree and part education degree, helping you attain the knowledge you need to excel as a teacher in the classroom and develop programs and initiatives within your school.
Thanks to online education, earning your graduate degree is now more possible than ever before. Through an online master’s in education program, you can earn your MSEd degree right from home. Plus, a master’s in education online program gives you a flexible schedule that lets you attend class at whatever time of day works best for you, making it possible to work full time while you earn your MS in education.
If you aren’t quite ready for a master’s degree in education, or wish to gain targeted skills in a particular area of expertise, a graduate certificate may be the perfect fit. Walden University’s online certificate programs cover a wide range of educational topics, including mathematics instruction, literacy, teaching technology, and special education. As with an online MSEd program, completing a certificate program online means having plenty of convenience and flexibility.
Schools need collaborative teachers who can lead important initiatives. Through an online master’s of education program or an online certification program, you can gain the skills you need to be a teacher leader in your school community.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Master of Science in Education program and numerous online graduate certificates in education. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.