Teacher Leader KnowledgeBase

The Teacher Leader KnowledgeBase aims to raise awareness of the teacher leader role at the district level and to support teachers aspiring to the teacher leader role through master's degree-level university programs.

Element 1: Understand the Teacher Leader Concept

Purpose: A brief from the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality on the role of teacher leadership in education innovation states, "Teacher leadership is the process by which teachers, individually or collectively, formally influence their colleagues, principals, and other members of the school community to improve teaching and learning practices with the goal of increased student learning and achievement." There are different forms of teacher leader roles including "teacher leader," "master teacher," "peer mentor," or "academic coach." Element 1 provides overview information on the approaches to and models of teacher leadership.

Activity 1: Be Aware of Teacher Leader Approaches and Models

Activity 2: Study Organizational Dynamics

Element 2: Prepare to Be a Teacher Leader

Purpose: A teacher aspiring to be a "teacher leader," "master teacher," "peer mentor" or "academic coach" should first investigate the nature of such role, how the role might fit with his or her abilities, and identify the associated educational and certification/licensure requirements of each role. Element 2 provides information to assist a teacher in preparing for a teacher leader role.

Activity 1: Explore Teacher Leader Role

Activity 2: Learn About Teacher Leader Education Programs

Element 3: Recruit Teacher Leaders

Purpose: To recruit teacher leaders effectively, a district needs to have a plan of action. The plan should identify the teacher leader role within the district, define the prerequisites for the role, and reflect applicable state standards or certification or licensure guidelines and an awareness of educational programs providing course work associated with the teacher leader role. Element 3 provides resources to assist the district in developing such a plan.

Activity 1: Determine Teacher Leader Roles

Activity 2: Learn About Teacher Leader Education Programs

Task 3: Support Collaborative Teams and Collegial Interactions

Guideline: Working through or with collaborative teams requires an understanding of group dynamics, along with facilitation and team building skills. Teachers in leadership roles need an understanding of these concepts to support their colleagues and help them enhance their collaboration skills. This task provides resources to assist teacher leaders in supporting their colleagues to do so.

Guidelines for Productive Meetings

This guide from the Team Handbook might assist team members with having productive meetings.

Guide for Collaborative Team Practices

This link is to a Maryland State Department of Education guide for collaborative team practices. Though intended for Maryland educators, teachers in leadership roles may find the guide useful in supporting collaborative teams.

Creating Team Norms

This article at Stickyminds.com discusses the importance of creating team member behavioral norms.

How to Create Team Norms

This article at About.com discusses the importance of establishing team norms.

Improving Relationships Within the Schoolhouse

This link is to an article in the March 2006 issue of ASCD's Educational Leadership publication. Author Roland Barth explores relationships among adults within a school. Teachers in leadership roles may find this article helpful when supporting collegial interactions.

The Benefits of Teacher Collaboration

This article authored by Carla Thomas McClure, a staff writer at Edvantia, reviews the research associated with teacher collaboration. The article was published in the September 2008 issue of the District Administration magazine. The article may be useful to teachers in leadership roles supporting collaborative teams.

Turf Issues

Individual group members often have divergent viewpoints. Turf issues can arise between group members and groups within a school, district, or community. This document offers a basic guide for addressing turf issues when they arise.

Element 4: Act as a Teacher Leader

Purpose: A teacher in a peer leadership role helps colleagues improve their professional practice, supports collaboration and instructional strategies, and encourages professional learning. Fulfilling these roles successfully is the essence of teacher leadership. Element 4 provides resources to assist in becoming an effective teacher leader.

Activity 1: Act as a Peer Mentor/Coach to Improve Professional Practice of Colleagues

Activity 2: Support Collaboration and Instructional Strategies

Activity 3: Advocate for Professional Learning

Element 5: Improve as a Teacher Leader

Purpose: Teachers in leadership roles must attend to their own continuing professional learning to enhance their abilities to support colleagues to improve their instructional capabilities. Teacher leaders could have a dual teaching role, one with their students and the other with their peers. Element 5 provides resources to assist teacher leaders in addressing their professional learning.

Activity 1: Develop Individual Professional Learning Plan