Teacher leadership is an expression that refers to classroom educators who have an influence in their classrooms and beyond. They take on administrative roles, support their peers and work with professional staff, students and families. Teacher leadership is a way of practicing education that emphasizes the growth of the school, students, colleagues and district. Teacher leaders are interested in improving the classroom environment and helping others achieve their potential.
An Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Teacher Leader online program from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) can prepare you to support students and coworkers and help them realize their strengths. This program provides a diverse background in teacher mentorship and coaching, data-driven school improvement and accountability, professional development and instructional and curriculum leadership.
What Makes a Good Teacher Leader?
Teacher leaders are at the front lines advocating for school improvement and reform. Several essential qualities make a good teacher leader, and individuals in different types of leadership roles can have contrasting skills. Here are some of the best qualities of teacher leaders:
- Ability to foster supportive conditions. Encouraging supportive environments through coaching and mentoring peers, enabling collaboration and professional learning, advocating collective responsibility and committing to continuous improvement are essential elements of effective teacher leadership. Supporting and collaborating with other educators and providing a supportive setting for everyone to thrive should be a prime focus for any teacher leader. Taking the time to show interest in the teaching and learning in their school by showing support for students, staff and other teachers is a great way to foster encouraging conditions.
- A commitment to student learning and success. Having an open mind, courage, humility, flexibility and a passion for learning are a few traits successful teacher leaders exhibit. Since teachers communicate and interact with students on a daily basis, they can make the best decisions for students and their learning process. Classroom teachers can work with the school to create an inclusive environment that promotes student success. Since an educator’s priority is to encourage students to learn, supporting changes in the curriculum and school policy can be helpful ways to reach that goal.
- Dedication to the professional development of staff members. Successful teacher leaders take responsibility for developing their students, themselves and their peers. They acquire more expertise when they pursue their own development and volunteer to help solve any issues that come their way. They learn from their coworkers and then pass on what they’ve experienced to build a collective knowledge base. Many schools expect teacher leaders to mentor or coach inexperienced teachers who need help with academic planning. Setting goals and offering feedback can improve student outcomes and encourage the professional development of their colleagues.
- Willingness to take calculated risks. Teacher leaders inspire their students to learn inside and outside of the classroom. They do this by taking risks, motivating their students, solving complex issues and advocating for change. By relying on strategy, setting high expectations and taking calculated risks, teacher leaders can demonstrate resilience and determination while encouraging everyone to pursue their goals.
How an MSEd Can Help
This online program can help you develop a solid understanding of how to integrate research and practical knowledge while linking theory with an inquiry. Students will be able to demonstrate communication and collaboration skills to work with diverse communities and build successful partnerships while understanding equity, social justice and ethics and how they apply to the educational process.