Saturday, March 4, 2017

Blog Post #2- The Many Roles of Teacher Leaders

Teacher leaders are needed in a building to bridge the gap between staff members and the principal.  As I was looking for ideas for my proposal I landed on the issue of teacher retention.  It’s crazy to think that the teacher retention rates are so low today.  The article that inspired this blog post was “Teacher Leadership as a Key to To Educational Innovation,” written by the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (2010).  The article stated that many teachers enter the profession with a passion for the field, but many also admit that they don’t see themselves teaching in the classroom for their entire career.  Now when I first read this I was surprised to think that so many teachers actually believed that they would change careers, but then I thought about this statement a little more.  Today, there are so many more positions available within a building then there was in the past.  Before, it was pretty much classroom teacher or admin.  Whereas, today we see a variety of positions being created to support the classroom teachers.  So, maybe this statement in the article was moreso related to the fact that teachers felt there was no room for them to grow within the walls of their building.  Although teacher leaders can be classroom teachers as well, teacher leaders are becoming vital to the effectiveness of a school.  There is so much more room for educators to grow today and we need to be preparing our new teachers for those opportunities.

The article specifically talks about how teacher leaders should be involved in the recruitment and hiring process for new teachers in the district. Teachers leaders could potentially help attract greater talent to the school, as well as, help identify candidates who would fit well into the school culture.  Teacher leaders should be used in the mentoring programs at schools to observe and meet with the first year teachers.  There needs to be a shift or change in the mentoring programs (or at least I feel that way about my district) so that first year teachers grow exponentially in those first few years.  Teachers need to feel supported and safe to take risks in their classroom.  Having teacher leaders be a part of the mentoring program could potentially affect the teacher retention rate.  Well-trained teachers would continue to grow in their respective classrooms and would be able to move into leadership positions later in their career.  The article (2010), suggests that teacher leaders should be staffed according to specific specializations, such as community liaison, content facilitator, technology practitioner, and instruction coach.  Perhaps we will see these positions open up within districts in the coming years.     


  1. Sarah, thanks for sharing this important issue and the resource. I have not used materials from this center but it seems to be affiliated with the DOE and CCSSO. Teacher retention is an excellent issue for teacher leaders because not only can a cadre of teacher leaders help in recruitment and retention of new teachers, but they can mentor the next generation of teacher leaders. The other important issue that is raised in your blog is whether or not a "position" denotes teacher leadership (i.e., is the community liaison a teacher leader, or a teacher appointed as community liaison)? I'll look forward to seeing how you develop these ideas.

  2. Sarah,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this critical topic. The issue of retention within the field of education immediately caught my eye while reading "Teachers with Drive" in the Educational Leadership Magazine. The fact that nearly half of all teachers leave the profession within their first 3-5 years is incredibly alarming and saddening in my opinion. Your outlook on the statement about teachers not seeing themselves in a classroom for their entire career was very intriguing. I think that you could absolutely be right in regards to the idea that many teachers do not see themselves within a classroom because they feel that their leadership capabilities cannot grow unless they are in a role with more freedom.

    I would love to hear what is done in your district to support first year teachers as you suggested that there needs to be a shift and/or change within your district.

    Great job discussing an important teacher leadership topic!

  3. Sarah,

    I think your point about teacher retention is something that the profession needs to begin addressing more thoroughly. We see these surprising stats constantly, and yet we also see ever-changing and increasing expectations with less respect for the profession.

    I think including teacher leaders in the hiring and recruiting process is extremely important. Since the administrators tends to move much more frequently than the teacher leaders, it's important for those teacher leaders to participate in interviews and help to select candidates that will mesh with the existing staff and hopefully find a happy, long-term home.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Sarah,

    I think you made some great points within your blog post. When thinking about teacher retention rates dropping, I never really considered that teachers might simply be transitioning to different roles within a school. That is a definite possibility - but I would still be curious to see if that is the case in most situations. I also completely agree about your statement that many more roles have been created to assist teachers. While they are important roles, I struggle with the specific specialization suggestion. If this were implemented, how could we then ensure that teacher leaders are not restricted in regards to how they can lead? I think it could be a great idea with room for mobility and creativity. After all, most teacher leaders have more than one strength - or specialty. Another great point in your post was regarding mentor programs and the need to increase their effectiveness, possibly with the inclusion of teacher leader training. I feel that with the teacher leader training I am now receiving I am finally starting to flourish. My mentorship, while it did have its benefits, did not prepare me to lead - and I feel this is an integral component in becoming an effective teacher. Thank you!


  5. Sarah!

    I liked how you proposed solutions for how teacher leaders can be involved in growth opportunities in schools. And, I completely agree with you about the mentoring program in our district! Maybe this is something that we will all collaboratively tackle as we become further advanced in our teacher leadership program ;) .

    Thanks for a great post!