Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

Teacher as a Leader

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November 28, 2017

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Greetings from The Progressive Teacher.

Rita Wilson

Rita Wilson

With the expanding and changing definition of education in the new world, the teacher’s role has also undergone a sea change. The teacher is no longer ‘a sage on the stage’ but ‘a guide on the side’. The emphasis has shifted from teacher-centric classroom to a learner-centric one where the teacher wears a number of hats. Unlike in the last century when the Principal or administrator of the school was the leader, today every teacher in the school has to assume this role. Teachers have to extend their sphere of influence beyond the classroom and into school-wide leadership activities.

Teachers typically define career satisfaction in terms of their ability to be of service to others and make a difference in the lives of their students (McLaughlin & Lee, 1988). Similarly, the leadership considerations of teachers are grounded in their desire to improve the quality of teaching and learning for all students. Studies have shown that teachers do not subscribe to traditional definitions of leadership as ‘higher’ or ‘superior’ positions within the organisational hierarchy (Devaney, 1987). Instead, teachers view leadership as a collaborative effort, a ‘banding together’ with other teachers to promote professional development and growth and the improvement of educational services (Troen & Boles, 1992).

It has been reported that the teachers’ knowledge and teaching skills increase dramatically if they are involved in leadership positions; it builds self-confidence and commitment to teaching as a result of collaboration with their peers. The isolation that a head-teacher suffers from, decreases in the case of teacher leaders, thus leading to a congenial atmosphere in the staff-room. Teacher leaders who are given a free hand to create and shape their roles achieve great success and receive more support than those who lack initiative.

When the school managements and principals support teacher leaders, it goes a long way in fulfilling the vision and mission of the school. Teacher leadership roles should be an integral part of the overall vision of the school which accepts and expects teachers to participate in leadership positions. Such teachers should be given time to experiment, reflect and create so that they can hone their skills and abilities which will get the excitement back into teaching.

In this issue of The Progressive Teacher, which is devoted to the theme, Teacher as a Leader, you will find interesting views put forward by the practitioners themselves. Vijayalaxmi Manerikar believes that a teacher leader has the ability to transform a raw human being into a creative, sensitive citizen; Alfred William reiterates the fact that great teachers are great leaders; Ashok Singh Guleria propounds that instructional leadership is another comprehensive tool to redesign and restructure school success; Purbasha Roy says that teachers who are leaders provide intellectual stimulation to students; P Ajitha is convinced that teacher leaders can learn the greatest lessons in humility, power of positivity and strength of conviction from their students; Cleta H Lobo is sure that neglecting counseling in school leads to disastrous consequences. Besides these views on Teacher as a Leader, there is analysis of the Happiness Index for Schools by Uma Srinivasan, Steve Heisler is opposed to Bullying, Shruti I S wants to make STEM Education Fun with Logo and Lego, Jagdeep S More wonders whether Psychometric Tests are right for teachers, Shimmi Sharma takes us through the world of Communication. Besides these, you will find many other articles which, I am sure, will be of interest to you.

The festive season is here and on behalf of The Progressive Teacher, I wish you a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year. Don’t think of the opportunities you have missed out. A brand new year is the time to start afresh, to start strong, and yet another chance to do everything we could not fulfill in the past year. May the New Year bring you new hope, renewed energy and more opportunities for a fulfilling life.

With best wishes

Rita Wilson
ritawilson@gmail.com

Rita Wilson has over 40 years of rich experience as educationist including over 30 years of experience in school leadership positions. She is the former Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the ICSE, New Delhi.

She is a consultant to a number of corporate houses and educational institutions. She is serving as a Member of the Board of Governors/Managing Committees of some of the most prestigious schools and colleges of the country.

She has vast exposure to the education systems of Japan, Germany, England, Thailand, Singapore, Sharjah, Dubai and Finland. She has initiated, conducted and organised workshops for school teachers and principals all over India With a B.A. (Hons) English Literature, M.A., M.Phil. (English Literature), B.Ed. to her credit, she has edited three series of English readers and work-books for school children.

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