Wenner and Campbell define teacher leaders as: “teachers who maintain K-12 classroom-based teaching responsibilities, while also taking on leadership responsibilities outside of the classroom” (p. 140).
We often assume teachers implicitly understand this dual role of being an effective teacher as well as a leader. They don’t.
Over the past fifteen years, I have been a part of numerous projects, which sought to build capacity through teacher leaders. An unfortunate pattern emerged across projects. The selected educators would embrace the new ideas and/or practices in their classrooms, with their students. However, when asked to take an active leadership role, most would either avoid the task, provide a litany of reasons why the task could not be accomplished or provide a half-hearted initial effort with little follow through.
Now we did have success stories, but too many teacher leaders were falling through the cracks. Why? How can we improve outcomes?
Twenty years ago ---- eek that's how long it has been since I graduated from high school, cursive was a given in the curriculum. Teachers used it, students had to be able to read it and write it. I can remember copying copious notes from the board in cursive. A lot has changed in those two decades. I now reserve cursive for signing checks and other documents. I rarely find I need to read something in cursive, other than perhaps a name. Typing, however, has become an absolute necessity. How important is cursive? With all the content that has been added, not to mention accountability.... how valuable is it? Do we need to spend time as early as third grade on teaching cursive?What do you think?Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/ocherdraco/88217480/
Context for the Research: In a recent Learning Forward article, Joellen Killion summarized some exciting new research regarding teacher leadership. This body of work extends a similar study and basically delineates what we know about teacher leadership over the last 30 plus years. Findings: Interestingly, the findings from the most recent study paralleled those from the earlier work. Most research studies fail to adequately define teacher leadership. None of the studies linked teacher leadership directly to student learning. Four themes emerged as either facilitators or inhibitors to teacher leadership: Adequate Time Quality of relationships with peers and administrators Climate and structural factors Personal characteristics Connection to Practice: Teacher Leaders need time to plan, collaborate and reflect on next steps. Without planning, little will be accomplished. Provide time for planning and collaboration. Do not assume it will happen without structured support. Building leaders shoul…