How to Thrive as a Teacher Leader

How to Thrive as a Teacher Leader

How to Thrive as a Teacher Leader

How to Thrive as a Teacher Leader

Synopsis

Challenging times demand dynamic leadership. Schools rely on teachers to assume a variety of leadership roles, both formal and informal, including department chair, peer coach, faculty representative, and Web page curator. With little or no leadership training, however, many teachers are unprepared to take advantage of such opportunities.

In How to Thrive as a Teacher Leader, John G. Gabriel explores the responsibilities and rewards of teacher leadership, offering practical, positive advice on

• identifying leadership qualities and building a team,

• enhancing communication and earning respect,

• overcoming obstacles and implementing change,

• energizing colleagues and strengthening morale, and

• improving student and teacher achievement.

From setting goals to mediating conflicts, from mentoring colleagues to motivating students, Gabriel provides clear strategies--grounded in experience and illustrated by examples--for becoming an effective teacher leader. A generous resource section, including sample letters, surveys, and checklists, enables readers to quickly put these techniques into practice.

Whether you aspire to a leadership position or are in a position to inspire future leaders, this insightful and informative book will help you lead the way to success.

Excerpt

As much as current educational literature points to the need for teacher leadership, there is scant realistic material written by teacher leaders explaining how to be an effective teacher leader. Such was the problem that I encountered when I was brought in as chair of the English Department at Falls Church High School in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 2001.

Falls Church High School, an extremely diverse school both ethnically and economically, had a passing rate of only 73 percent on the English Standards of Learning (SOL) test, one of Virginia’s high-stakes tests that students must demonstrate proficiency on in order to graduate. With no formal leadership experience, I was expected to right the ship and steer it toward goals that seemed unattainable. At the time, the school faced a host of problems: a three-year downward trend in high-stakes scores, high turnover, low morale, apathy, student language deficiencies, and a high rate of free and reduced lunches, which is often indicative of underperforming schools.

These obstacles were imposing, but more so was the fact that I could find very little literature to guide me. I desperately searched for publications that would explain how to be an effective department chair, but my efforts were fruitless. There was a glut of literature about being an administrator, about being a teacher, but very few books dealt with one of the most slippery and challenging positions in a school building: the teacher leader.

Department heads usually lack formal training, and most are ill prepared for the position and its multifaceted demands: “Neither . . .

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