Teachers are absolutely in the most special and important position – they are the ones giving the next generation (and the next, and so on – teaching careers can be long, successful ones) the knowledge and lessons they need to go out into the world and become the people they want to be. They’ll learn important and useful information about math, English, science, history, and so on, but they’ll also learn how to behave as human beings and essentially be better people – all thanks to teachers.
Yet what if teachers could do more? It might sound impossible, especially since teachers work so hard already, but what if teachers (or some of them who want to) could become leaders? What if they could run a business, take on politics, or simply become more authoritative in the classroom? All of this could make even more difference to children’s lives, and it’s well worth considering. Here are some ways to make it happen if everyone agrees.
Leadership might sound like it’s something people do by themselves – after all, one person leads and others follow, isn’t that right? The truth is that it can be great to have more than one leader as long as they’re all pulling in the same direction, and it might be that collaborative leadership is precisely what teachers are looking for.
It’s important to encourage teachers to work with their colleagues so that the right ways to do things are shared, and hints and tricks – teaching hacks, if you like – are something everyone can use, making work a lot easier. One person might rise to the top of the group as a leader, but everyone gets a chance to play their part.
Leadership coaching for teachers is a fantastic process where teachers work with a coach to develop leadership skills, improve their teaching practices, and perhaps even reach professional goals, whatever they might be. This kind of instructional coaching can help in a variety of different ways, and even if the teacher chooses not to become a leader in the strictest sense of the word, they’ll still gain a huge amount of confidence and authority, which will help make their teaching an easier thing to deal with.
Some of the elements included in coaching might be self-reflection, goal setting, skill development, problem-solving, and so on. Any and all of these will be wonderful assets for any teacher in or out of the classroom, and if they do want to be a leader, it’s a fantastic place to start.
What is it we know about leaders? There are a few potential answers to this question, but one that stands out is that they’re trailblazers – they’re innovators. They try things other people haven’t even thought of, and they do it even if the idea might fail because what if it doesn’t? They’ll take these risks because they are looking at the bigger picture, and failure can be a learning experience anyway.
That’s why it’s vital to encourage teachers to explore and adopt new teaching methods, tools, and, of course, technologies and to take risks (calculated ones) when they need to. If they feel they can experiment, they’re much more likely to become great leaders as their confidence and knowledge grows.