What do Teacher Leaders Need from Administrators?

Geez…It's a busy time up in here!

Not only are we in the middle of preparing for what promises to be a great conversation on teaching for tomorrow with digital change experts Adam Garry and Meg Ormiston, but Scott McLeod—-Educational Leadership professor extraordinaire and the mind behind the Dangerously Irrelevant blog—has asked me to write a guest post in early September. 

Here's what he asked:

I was wondering if each of you would be up to doing a guest post at Dangerously Irrelevant. The theme for the 7 days will be: What do teachers need from administrators?

Being as how we're Teacher Leader fans over here at the Radical, I figured I'd put a bit of a twist on Scott's question.  My version will be:

What do Teacher Leaders Need from Administrators?

And being as how we're all about audience participation over here at the Radical, I want your help in crafting my entry for Scott's blog!  To share your thinking with Scott's audience—a group that includes tons of principals, by the way—consider:

Crafting a one or two paragraph response to my question and posting it as a blog comment:  I've already shared a sample in the comment section if you're not sure what your entry should look like.  Be sure to share as much contact information as you're comfortable with, too, so I can give credit to you in my final post. 


Answering this short survey about what teacher leaders need from administrators:  Scott loves to have charts and graphs in posts over at his blog, so I'll use the data from this survey to whip up a chart to include in our final piece. 

Thanks in advance for participating, huh?  This one's important.  Helping principals to understand just who we are and how we work will advance teacher leadership a ton!

10 thoughts on “What do Teacher Leaders Need from Administrators?

  1. Mattie Bearden

    Teacher Leaders need respect, just as principals do. While their status may not be the same, both have very important roles in education. I think that principals are often put on a pedestal far above teachers. Teachers need to be allowed to share their opinion and actually be heard. They need to be given more freedom in the classroom. Basically, there are a lot of things that teacher leaders need from administrators, but I believe that the main thing is respect.

  2. Tania Sterling

    Teachers lead their students everyday, but few perceive themselves as such among their co-workers. Teacher leaders need an administrator who allows others to have input into how to (i) set the direction of the school, (ii) redesign the organization; and (iii) manage the instructional program. TL also need an Admin who understands data and bases decisions on the needs of the students. Depending on what the students need, some teachers may need additional training to achieve the school goals, and so TL thrive when they work with admin who develop them as better leaders. When encouraged to lead, and given support and quality opportunities to lead (not just bus scheduling!), chances are that more teachers will actually perceive themselves as the teachers leaders they are.
    I could go on and on… thanks for allowing me to share and best of luck with the coloumn!

  3. Paul C

    Teacher Leaders need trust, freedom, and instructional leadership from our administrators. I fear that the system, however, puts in place obstacles to all three. Administrators are often held accountable for the actions of their teachers and so trust and freedom require a willingness on the part of admins to take risks.
    Instructional leadership taps into teaching expertise both within the administrator and from his/her staff to hone the classroom skills of all. Sadly, not enough administrators were master teachers with the pedagogical and content chops to earn the respect of their faculty.

  4. Nmstuewe

    Yes teachers need all of this and yet so much more. Especially the listen part! Teachers need to be able to think of themselves as learners and because of this they need everything in place for them that they have in place for their students. A safe place to wonder in and personalize their learning. We do not make it easy for students to learn my making it difficult for teachers to learn.

  5. Michael Lubelfeld

    Teacher leaders need administrators who support, nurture, and guide their interest in leadership. Administrators can and, in my opinion, should collaborate/partner with their teacher leaders on projects, initiatives, school plans. They should can and should help develop their leadership abilities and potential through coaching. Administrators should help guide teacher leaders to share in the overall leadership and management and improvement of the school/district.
    Thanks for writing a great blog Bill. I’m a superintendent of a small suburban Chicago school district, PK-8th grade, 425 students. I’ve been an educator for 17 years, and an administrator for 12 years (associate principal grades 4-8, principal grades 6-8, asst. supt. grades PK-8, and teacher grades 6 and 8)

  6. Saba Khan

    WOW thats soo very true!!
    but we rarely speak about it, its all hidden
    thanks for making it an open topic 🙂
    I actually have to give/share credit of my ideas to my administrators at times , so that i can work on my teaching ideas!!
    we have to sacrifice a lot to persue our dream, teaching innovatively!

  7. Becky Goerend

    Teacher leaders need the freedom to try new things in their classrooms. We are intelligent leaders who are learning and may hear about things before you do! We need time and opportunities to share what we are learning with our coworkers. We need time, funding, and opportunities to extend our learning at conferences and other professional development events. We need recognition at times because we get run down/burnt out. We need to know that what we are doing makes a difference to you, our students, fellow teachers, and our school.

  8. Louise

    Administrators, if you want us to lead teachers into your brave new vision, you have to listen AND then do something to address the issue. If teachers will do hands-on work if you reimburse them for materials, then reimburse them for materials, or quit saying you want hands-on work.
    What you say is unimportant: what you do is observed by all. If kids are hanging out in the hallway, it’s because they know that you do not follow through. Teachers are not more stupid than students.

  9. Bill Ferriter

    Teacher leaders need mutual respect from administrators. So often, those of us who have chosen to stay in the classroom have skills and knowledge that is equal to that of our principals. We’re reading just as much as they are. We’re refining our craft in deep and meaningful ways. We’re studying organizational theory and perfecting our professional development skills.
    To put it simply, we’re competent and qualified too. Our choice to stay in the classroom shouldn’t cheapen who we are as professionals—and yet I often feel looked down on when I’m in a room full of principals.
    I want to be seen as the intellectual equal of my principal—especially if they want me to continue leading from the classroom!

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