Tuesday, March 28, 2017

MTL 528- Blog #4 Benefits for Teacher Leaders

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?

Personal Gains

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.

Decreased Isolation

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!

Job Satisfaction

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).


  1. Thanks Rachel for such a reflective blog post. We often ignore that there is a great deal of intrinsic reward in being a teacher leader - making change happen. As you explained - we are working to improve our students' learning goals - but to help them we also must help ourselves by feeling empowered, inspired, and challenged in positive ways. This was a very insightful way to end a series of blogs on teacher leadership - and I appreciated receiving the link on the "change" article!

  2. This was such a great blog post! To reflect on why you enrolled in the program was very interesting to read. You are right that when we work on improving ourselves it does benefit our students as well. I think that we do need to better ourselves in order to support our students. This program can help us to speak up more and be more open as well with our colleagues. I also was more isolated my first year, but have become more open to collaborating with my colleagues. This program provides us with ideas that we may never had learned about on our own and you are right that we have nothing to lose by being in this program.

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  4. I think you nailed it when you mentioned finding your purpose. Don’t we do that in our society a lot, always searching around for purpose? When we find meaning, or understand the purpose of something, we usually gain more out of it, maybe even appreciate it more. I just think back to my students at school. When they don’t know what we’re doing or why we’re doing it, they seem less interested. When I tell them, X will help you be able to do Y, and we do Y so we can get to Z, they see the big picture. They start to visualize and articulate how learning can be taken and implemented in their daily lives. Just like in your example. When you selected this Master’s course, you wanted to learn more and develop as a teacher leader. Being engaged in your passion, learning to become a better leader is gratifying and motivating. We are able to take what we learn and use it immediately and we improve our instruction for our students. What we do in our lives professionally really has the opportunity to be something positive for all.

  5. Rachel
    I really enjoyed all of your views about the benefits of a teacher leader. It made me think back to what my mindset was when I started the program. I selfishly decided on this program because I knew that it would allow me to eventually become a department chair, which is still something I am interested in. The program offers so much more like you explained. With classes meeting every other week, it allows us the opportunity to learn from each other. This type of information we can take back and use at our schools. There are a lot of teachers that try to figure out what is the easiest way to earn a Master’s degree, and they’ll ask me about Elmhurst. I will let them know that this will not be close to the easiest program, but all the additional benefits that we are receiving makes the process worth it. I happy you are getting so much out of the program! Great blog!

  6. Love this! I love your reflection on teacher leadership. I also love that you ask yourself why you enrolled in the program. I think a lot of us wonder sometimes and maybe look at it as an Endorsement or a possible thing to do down the road as an outlet, and we truly forget that we are leaders and can make these changes.