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.
Here is the link to the article I used- http://www.gtlcenter.org/sites/default/files/docs/TQ_Policy-to-PracticeBriefTeacherLeadership.pdf