Teachers leading, leading teachers:
A reader’s guide

As the holidays are fast approaching, I’m anxiously anticipating much-needed family time with loved ones. If you’re like me, you’ll also utilize some of those relaxing moments to catch up on professional readings you’ve had bookmarked for a while.

The Center for Teaching Quality’s latest roundtable blog “Teachers leading, leading teachers” is on my list to re-read. Nine educators share their adventures as teacher leaders and how they eventually transitioned outside of the classroom to continue the work (although you don’t have to).

No matter your current role, you are primed to lead from right where you are. I’m reminded of John Maxwell’s principle of 360-degree leadership. Each of us has power of influence. When we recognize that, we can empower ourselves to start leading those in our care, our peer group, and even our bosses.

I invite you to engage with this reading guide to explore nine unique stories and reflect upon your own. What has your teacher leadership journey been so far, and what course will you chart for the future? Although it can be scary working without direct steps, the beauty is having the flexibility to imagine and create a leadership pathway that suits you.

How are you growing as a teacher leader?

Val Brown invites us to “get equipped” and “continue to evolve” as leaders. Carrie Kamm describes it as becoming the best version of yourself. How do you make it happen? Meme Ratliff and Lisa Clarke emphasize the importance of building community whether by learning from a mentor or connecting with a broader PLN (professional learning network).

What is your heart work?

Dana Tucker shares that our hearts will often bleed for the mission. Why do you do the work that you do? Carrie Kamm asks us to summarize our own leadership story in six words. Sean Woytek challenges educators to “lead with the why” by finding a school where your personal mission aligns.                                   

What is your next step?

Christina Jean encourages teacher leaders to embrace ambiguity. We may not know all the steps, but we can take the next one. Libby Ortmann charges us to take hold of opportunities to lead with a “yes attitude” because it will often reveal the next steps. Danny Medved likens the adventure of teacher leadership to a voyage where as captains, we continue to reorient our direction often, according to our own leadership compass.

Teacher leadership is an amazing journey. Building capacity in yourself as a leader and engaging those around you to do the same will facilitate the growth of a powerful educational community that can shape schools and systems that will yield positive outcomes for all our students.

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