Change the Odds by Developing Teacher Leaders
By Lynn Kepp, Sr. VP Strategic Partnerships …
Teachers who leave the profession have indicated that they quit, in part, because of lack of shared-decision making roles and opportunities to lead, according to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The message is clear: districts can retain top talent and help change the odds for students
by giving accomplished teachers the opportunities they crave to step into leadership roles.
Leadership roles can expand the reach and influence of talented teachers — so more students benefit from their expertise. These roles can also increase job satisfaction, keep effective teachers in the profession longer and foster more productive learning communities – all leading to a better education for students. Creating career pathways for talented and experienced teachers allows them to have a bigger impact on students and the profession. Case studies in a National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) report show how teacher leadership opportunities helped districts retain effective, experienced teachers. One of our partners, Hillsborough County Public School in Florida, also found this to be true: ninety percent of NTC-trained mentors remained committed to the district after five years.
While the benefits of introducing teacher leadership roles into a district are clear, many district leaders may need more clarity about how to do this successfully.
In our work across the country, we’ve seen that when districts begin with clear goals for teacher leadership roles, they see the most benefits. In a report, Teach Plus CEO Celine Coggins offers five suggested goals:
1) Improve student outcomes;
2) Improve the access of high-need students to effective teachers;
3) Extend the careers of teachers looking for growth opportunities;
4) Expand the influence of effective teachers on their peers; and
5) Ensure a role for teachers as leaders in policy decisions affecting their practice.
When educators have clearly defined career goals and leadership positions they can aspire to, they become more engaged and can grow to be true change makers in their school and district.
In our “Change Maker #5: Develop Teacher Leaders,” we describe, in detail, different teacher leader roles that offer teachers new challenges and career advancement, while simultaneously addressing critical school and district needs. Check out the guide and start thinking about how your district can change the odds for students by more effectively tapping into the potential of your best teachers.