Leadership roles are not always easy to define. There are so many different types of leaders, from managers to mentors to religious leaders. Even though teachers are often considered to be the leaders of the majority of people in schools, the reality is that they play a key role in so many different aspects of the day-to-day operations of schools. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what teachers do and how they impact classrooms.
Just as there are many types of leaders, there are also many different kinds of teacher leadership roles. Some assume that these include the role of a new teacher mentor. Many new teachers spend a great deal of time helping new teacher mentors develop their skills and prepare for their new positions in the classroom, including helping them find appropriate administrative positions within the school district and creating new programs for student and staff development. Other new teacher mentors serve as advocates for students, urging their school districts to provide more academic resources, for example, or to help other students who may be struggling academically. Others may work as school administrators, helping school districts implement initiatives that directly affect students.
New teacher leadership roles inside the classroom often depend on the specific teacher. Some assume that they have one particular role: helping students to become responsible, well-organized, well-guided citizens when they leave school. However, there are some who see themselves as providing proactive educational instruction and fostering positive self-esteem in young people. Their leadership roles inside the school may involve helping students build upon their natural strengths and using their natural skill sets to tackle academic challenges. On the other hand, some new teacher leadership roles within the school may focus on implementing new academic policies.
Regardless of what position each new leader assumes, their leadership affects the entire organization. The effectiveness of the school drastically depends upon the level of trust and support each of the leaders provides. If those involved in the different types of positions assume differing roles, it can create a domino effect. Without a clear chain of command, it can lead to confusion and chaos within the school.
When new leaders assume a specific role, they must also lay out expectations for the others. This may mean that certain behaviors need to change. For example, it is acceptable to expect that all new leaders are committed to confidentiality, to the rules, to ethics, and to their own personal safety. While it is desirable that new leaders exhibit all these things, the ultimate responsibility falls to them to ensure that they do. Failure to do so not only results in disciplinary action, but it can have long-lasting effects on the organization.
When new leaders assume responsibility for different areas within the school, the duties they assume must be spelled out, explained, and reviewed. Otherwise, it can lead to confusion. Things that were accepted as part of the culture and rules of the organization are suddenly being asked to be altered because someone did not know about them.
Often, what is expected of leaders and what they actually end up doing are two very different things. It is often necessary for new leaders to recognize what they did not accomplish while in office. Some individuals know they are expected to uphold ethical behaviors, provide ethical solutions to problems, or conduct background checks on people who would come into contact with children; others know nothing about these things and simply think they have to stay focus on their tasks.
In order for leadership to be effective, everyone in an organization must be committed to its goals and the leader. People will only see success when they are engaged and involved. Those who are not fully invested will easily see failed leadership attempts at almost instant notice. It is up to the leaders to make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them and how each person’s role contributes to this total vision.