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The Challenge of being Teacher Leaders

The Challenge of being Teacher Leaders

            Teacher leaders are those teachers that are usually appointed by their superiors to act as coordinators and facilitators in their respective fields. In the article “Overcoming the Obstacles to Leadership” by Johnson and Donaldson, four questions have been answered concerning the issue of teacher leaders. The following paragraphs discuss each question and provide answers that are of great help to our educators.

            What are the reasons why second-stage teachers find opportunities to become teacher leaders attractive? There are three reasons that make teacher leader opportunities attractive. First, some teachers are confident that they are good in what they do and thus, wish to share their expertise to other co-teachers as well. Another reason is that teacher leaders experience less isolation from others thus giving them more opportunities to work as groups rather than individually (Johnson, 2007, p. 8). Lastly, being teacher leaders provides opportunities in varying one’s responsibilities and thus expands influence (Johnson, 2007, p. 9).

            What are the challenges faced by the teacher leader? Many teacher leaders face challenges in fulfilling their responsibilities. Most often, teacher leaders are restricted from observing classes and teachings of other educators (Johnson, 2007, p.9). This can be

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a problem since it can deter suggestions and comments that can improve the teaching methods of teachers. Another problem faced by teacher leaders is egalitarianism. In this case, teacher leaders are questioned regarding the validity of their appointments and at times, are criticized by special privileges that they can avail to fulfill their responsibilities successfully. Moreover, since teacher leaders often belong to second-stage teaching, their experience and expertise are often questioned (Johnson, 2007, p.10).

            What strategies can teacher leaders use to cope with the responsibilities and oppositions they face? Since teacher leaders are frequently faced with dilemmas, some strategies are devised to help them adapt to their new responsibilities. Teacher leaders who are eager to help and share their knowledge usually have to wait to be appointed rather than volunteer; thus, by doing so, they minimize the risk of criticism and jealousy (Johnson, 2007, p.10). Others, on the other hand, will only work with other teachers that are willing to be improved thus, eliminating much of the rebuffs they encounter in their new roles as teacher leaders. Still, there are others who explain to their fellow educators that they are not reformers but rather facilitators that help everyone (Johnson, 2007, p. 11).

            What is the role of the principal in encouraging teacher leaders in fulfilling their responsibilities? Since teacher leader roles are not readily well-defined, school principals should be very particular in supporting their appointed teacher leaders. They should not only explicitly support teacher leaders but also find ways on how to buffer the new appointment with the other teachers to avoid conflicts. Furthermore, such principals should involve the whole school system in finding and appointing teacher leaders to reduce egalitarianism in the faculty. In addition, principals should try to define what the specific responsibilities of teacher leaders have to eliminate ambiguities (Johnson, 2007, p. 12).

Reference

Johnson, S.M., & Donaldson, M.L. (September 2007). Overcoming the Obstacles to Leadership. Teachers as Leaders, Educational Leadership, 65, 8-13.

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