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Why Should Teachers Become Teacher Leaders?

As educators begin to discuss the knowledge, skills, challenges, and opportunities associated with teacher leadership, one question often overlooked is why teachers should aspire to become teacher leaders.

This week's guest blogger is Erin Kelly, a middle school science department chair in Fairfax, Virginia.

Why Should Teachers become Teacher Leaders?

Who is a teacher leader? A teacher leader is someone who impacts students and teachers outside his or her classroom.

Teacher leaders are the heart of a school. We are the silent partners in decision-making. We are the ones informing administrators of the specific needs of our students and families. We are always available to offer advice, support, or simply to set an example. Through our daily commitment to students and teachers, we sustain the life and culture of a school.

Here are three reasons why I became a teacher leader...

1. I wanted more opportunities to "have my voice heard." I'll admit, I have a lot of opinions. Through leadership positions at my school, I am able to voice these opinions to the final decision makers. Whether you are an expert teacher who leads informally, or a department chair with formal responsibilities, teacher leaders collaborate with administrators to make decisions about curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
After becoming a teacher leader, I found that I was often asked, "What do you think?"
I enjoy being an instructional resource to others; this makes teacher leadership FUN.
2. I wanted to impact students outside my classroom. As a teacher leader, my impact on student learning has multiplied. By helping and mentoring other teachers in my school or district, my knowledge impacts the students in their classes. Students throughout my school are impacted by the professional development workshops I lead, the discussions I facilitate, and the decisions I make on behalf of my colleagues.
Being a mentor to other teachers and helping them grow professionally makes teacher leadership COOL.
3. I wanted to grow and learn as a professional. As a teacher leader I get opportunities to learn from others and meet new people. I attend district meetings and workshops outside my school where I collaborate and interact with teachers and administrators. I also participate in professional organizations and attend national conferences. Through discussions at these events, I build my own knowledge, which I pass on to teachers in my school.
Through teacher leadership, I am continually inspired to improve my own practice and to support others in improving theirs'. This makes teacher leadership EXCITING.

So why become a teacher leader? I say that being a teacher leader is fun, cool, and exciting. Not only do you broaden your impact, but you gain experience and opportunities to challenge yourself and grow as an educator.

Erin Kelly is a middle school science department chair in Fairfax, Virginia. She is an active teacher leader in her school and district.

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