Teacher Leadership as a Teacher Career Path

Teacher Leadership as a Teacher Career Path

Ali Balcı (Ankara University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7772-0.ch012

Abstract

Teaching is very difficult, but at the same time a very sacred career. Unfortunately, some teachers may change their careers at the beginning or at any stage of their careers. This may be regarded as the waste of human capital when individual and societal costs of the training are considered. But pursuing an unsatisfying career usually means depressive episodes in professional life. For teachers, there are alternative satisfying career paths compatible with their training such as class leadership, master teacher, mentor teacher, teaching specialist, education consultant, teacher coaching, deputy director, student dean, and school director. In addition to these career paths, as studied in this study, teacher leadership has emerged as an alternative career path in recent years. In this conceptual study, definition, reason, and historical development of teacher leadership, model of teacher leadership, roles and responsibilities of teacher leaders, and finally, their preparation are discussed.
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Teacher Leadership

The term teacher leadership is generally used at schools to refer to teachers having leadership roles and additional professional responsibilities. The concept of teacher leadership is closely related with shared leadership the distribution of leadership roles and decision-making responsibilities beyond the administration team in a city or school (“teacher leader”, 2014). Traditionally, experienced teachers who wish to advance in their career, increase their income, and gain new skills or to take on certain professional responsibilities may think of becoming the head in a department or working in an administrative position. Unfortunately, the opportunities and possibilities to advance in the profession, to continue teaching, to take on new responsibilities and to grow professionally are limited in schools. For this reason, teachers feel obliged to make a choice between teaching and upward career development. On the other hand, teachers trying to play both roles successfully cannot allocate the necessary time to teaching and they often quit teaching. Yet schools have re-defined and re-structured their traditional administration models and leadership functions to distribute the authority to make decisions inclusively and to enable teachers to take on more responsibility in school administration beside sustaining their duties. In some cases, there are positions in which teacher leaders’ tasks and responsibilities are formally described. According to beliefs about teaching profession, however, teachers can work on new ideas and methods of teaching; they can test those approaches in their classrooms; they can get expertise and share with their colleagues what they have learnt. In other words, teacher leaders continue teaching part time or full time depending on the magnitude of other responsibilities they have; or they can quit teaching. In brief, the role and description of teacher-leaders change from school to school greatly (“teacher leader”, 2014).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Alternative Career Paths for Teachers: The alternative careers for teachers include classroom leadership, teacher leadership, master teacher, mentor teacher, teaching expert, educational consultant, teacher coach, vice director, student dean, and school principal.

Career Interventions: It can be defined as planned activities individuals do to improve the dimensions of career development, such as making decisions on career maturity and career changes.

Teacher: A teacher is a person, who provides education for people; one who teaches or instructs. The role of teacher is often formal and ongoing, carried out at a school or other place of formal education.

Career Development: A continuous process where both employees and employers have to put efforts in order to create a conducive environment to achieve their objectives at the same time.

Teacher Leadership: A term is generally used at schools to refer to teachers having leadership roles and additional professional responsibilities. This term is closely related with shared leadership.

Distributed or Shared Leadership: This term is the transformation of influence and authority into a more cooperative type of influence and also a deviation from the belief that leadership is a unique characteristic an individual develops and implements on his own.

Leadership: Leadership is the ability to influence a group towards the achievement of goals.

Instructional Leadership: A leadership role, mostly attributed to the principal, generally includes defining the school’s mission, managing the instructional program and promoting a positive school learning climate.

Teacher Leadership Models: Models proposed to describe which behaviors are regarded as leadership behaviors for teachers and how they are acquired.

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