MTL 528: Blog #4
Benefits for Teacher Leaders
As we talk about teacher leaders and their positive impacts on a school culture, its teachers, the students, and the system, I (selfishly) started to wonder- What’s in it for me? My last blogs have focused on why we need teacher leadership, the obstacles they face, and how to be one, but nothing on why to personally become one.
It had me wondering why I enrolled in a Teacher Leadership program. Did I do this for the better of my students or for me? I think the students are the natural beneficiaries of anything I do. To improve me is to support my students. Always. But I think there has to be a personal desire to be a teacher leader as well. So I come back to my question- what’s in it for me?
Completing a teacher leadership master’s degree is just the start. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with the hard work. There’s often pay increases in salary. Great resume additions (if ever needed). Overall satisfaction with new education.
Intellectual and Professional Growth
Becoming a teacher leader can lead to increased knowledge. Through an official program, the learning is structured and specific with important goals. This can lay the foundation for your leadership style and vision. But there is the intellectual knowledge you gain on the job as well. The more colleagues you interact with, the more opportunities you try, the more research you explore, then the more you gain in hands-on experiences and knowledge. Professionally, you improve your practice.
I know in my first year, I was very closed doors. I didn’t want anyone to see what I was doing or how I was doing it. I didn’t want to be judged or misunderstood. Understandable for a first year teacher, but if this continues beyond your first year, then you work in isolation. Never reaching out behind your walls to see what else your school (colleagues) have to offer. With teacher leadership, you reach out. You find answers. You seek change and collaboration. Two minds are better than one!
Teachers tend to be teachers forever, with exception of those that move on to administration. Teacher leadership provides that outlet. There’s not many place to move up as a teacher but by sharing resources, inspiring others, leading PD, and imposing positivity and change, a teacher can feel renewed job satisfaction. They don’t need a promotion but they have a way to impart knowledge and feel like they can make a difference.
These areas do not fully summarize what benefits you potentially receive as a teacher leader but could perhaps showcase what makes being a teacher leader just so attractive. So when I think what’s in it for me?, it sounds like a pretty good deal. I improve my teaching practice and constantly learn more, I feel personally achieved, happier in my job, and surrounded by colleagues to collaborate with. What do I have to lose?
Boyd-Dimock, V. & McGree, K.M. (1995). Leading change from the classroom: Teachers as leaders. Issues...About Change, 4(4).