Teacher leadership: Putting the horse back in front of the cart

What IS teacher leadership?

The Teacher Leader Model Standards attempt to create some working level of this concept with seven domains, including teachers as collaborators, researchers, learners, facilitators, data analysts, outreach and community specialists, and advocates.

But what would Florida teacher leaders say when asked to define teacher leadership? I posed the question to a group of emerging and current teacher leaders at the University of South Florida—St. Petersburg’s Teachers as Leaders Institute. Here’s how they replied.

·      Teacher leadership is educating our youth at the highest level, being a model teacher for others to look to, and being passionate about what you do.

·      Collaboration of professional learning.

·      Setting examples.

·      Being a motivator.

·      Keeping kids’ futures in mind.

·      Mobilization of improvement and expansion of professional teaching and learning.

·      Teacher leadership is having a thirst for continuous improvement and knowledge and modeling learned strategies!

·      Modeling and guiding colleagues in best practices.

·      Teachers sharing their expertise to inform policy makers before decisions are made.

·      Someone who is willing to advocate for the teachers and students.

·      A leadership catalyst.

·      A strong understanding of student needs.

·      Bringing out the strengths in all teachers.

·      Being an advocate for classroom teachers.

·      Teacher leadership is being held accountable for learning.

·      Teachers that leads students to success.

·      Guiding and encouraging.

·      Setting directions for student learning.

·      Practical instructional leadership in and out of the classroom.

·      Mentoring and creating headway for collaboration.

·      Someone who uses their knowledge of a subject or strategy to educate others.

·      Sharing information and ideas with colleagues.

·      Ongoing professional learning and collaboration.

·      Contagious. The fire that lights transformation.

·      Emerging, bold, and brave!

·      Putting the horse back in front of the cart.

But what if we think broader? What if we go deeper and more definitive?

Better yet, what if we elevate the profession to the degree that the words become synonymous, where it’s repetitive to say the words: teacher leader?

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