A New Model for Teacher Leadership

A new model for teacher leadership is beginning to emerge as the profession is called on to shoulder increased responsibilities while improving teacher effectiveness. 21st century education is calling for all teachers to assume more undertakings, from data integration to technology in the classroom, to provide a safe climate in an increasingly complicated world.

Mentor coaches new teacher in her first years of teaching.

This constant change proves to be difficult for emerging teachers to assimilate into their new role. As teachers enter the profession, we need to ensure there are support systems in place to help retention as “forty-four percent of new teachers leave teaching within five years,” according to Education Week. Teacher leaders are our best resources to influence others and share their knowledge based on their own experiences and education to help foster the growth of their profession.

Provide Support

Supporting teachers’ collaboration and innovation helps move education forward and improves teacher outcomes. Inexperienced teachers can find themselves overwhelmed at times adjusting to the demands of the occupation. Mentor teacher leaders provide a safe and nurturing environment to help them cope personally and professionally in their new role. They build trusting relationships, help with teaching strategies, and provide valuable feedback to mentees. This relationship fosters growth in each teacher as they build on their own teaching objectives. Many teachers take this role on out of pure passion for helping others succeed.

A new model of support is needed as these teachers face a multitude of demands in a system that is in constant flux. With consistent mentorship, we “retain good teachers, improve their teaching practice, keep us engaged in the profession and improve the practice of mentors themselves,” states Heather Wolpert-Gawron, a veteran teacher who shares her thoughts on why having a mentor made her a better teacher.

Teacher leaders, administration and community members help shape new policy.

Address School Climate

As our education system changes with the academic demand the global economy dictates, we have to address the social and emotional learning (SEL) needs of our students. This new role is an awesome responsibility for teacher leaders to help shape policy and curriculum.

Heath Morrison, president of McGraw-Hill Education Group states that teaching children SEL skills can “help students make responsible, constructive decisions both in and out of the classroom.” Community members, families and school officials support the integration of SEL into the curriculum, and it is essential that the program is developed with the best possible outcome for all. In fact, the 2018 McGraw-Hill Education report states that “79 percent of educators believe that SEL should be explicitly included as a part of state academic standards.”

Quinnipiac University addresses this need in a new specialized SEL certificate program that provides educators a hands-on experience to affect both individual and structural changes needed to promote school-based environment that is safe, supportive, effective and equitable. A new vision for teaching and learning is happening now and teachers are on the front lines of this exciting opportunity.

Embrace Technology

Teacher leaders proficient in technology lead a lesson on integrating technology into lesson plans.

As educators plan to incorporate a new learning model into their lessons, another exciting opportunity awaits all teachers. The National Education Association states that, “Fully preparing and supporting educators in the instructional use of technology is critical . . . They need to learn to use technology to transform the nature of teaching and learning.”

A teacher leader who embraces this emerging discipline confidently uses technology to help prepare students for the future. They also can lead professional development and become a mentor to other teachers who need assistance. They have a deep understanding of effective learning theories and apply best practices to create a dynamic classroom environment.

Quinnipiac offers a MS in Instructional Design specializing in technology for the K-12 classroom where teachers develop expertise in the hands-on design and pedagogical use of interactive environments such as games, simulations and micro worlds, and in the evaluation of technology for educational use. They also learn how to support faculty in the use of technology implementing new and emerging learning resources.

Affect Change

A confident teacher embracing her new role as a teacher leader.

There are many opportunities for educators to gain leadership skills needed to plan, develop and implement substantial improvement programs. Teachers inspire through their motivation and commitment, through their unwavering desire to be an effective leader and their ability to affect change.

As education evolves to meet the growing needs of students, teacher leaders take on what matters most to them, lead the charge for change and empower other teachers with the resources to improve student success. They collaborate on learning improvement programs, seek professional development training and take the lead on initiatives that enact positive change in education. Teacher leaders are passionate and committed to improving student outcomes because they believe they can make a difference.

Learn more about how the new role of teacher leader can empower you to create effective change by sharing your expertise and excitement with your teaching community. Find the program that is right for you at Quinnipiac University.

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