Leadership in New Zealand schools doesn’t rest solely with the principal.
By distributing leadership throughout a team, you clarify accountabilities, efficiently delegate workload, and give all of your people the opportunity to thrive.
Typically, this distributed leadership begins with your senior leaders – DPs and APs and the like. But as recent research shows, teacher leadership is just as – if not more – critical for student success.
What is teacher leadership?
Broadly speaking, teacher leadership is what it says it is – active teachers taking on more leadership roles within their school. As Charlotte Danielson explains, this is typically exhibited through a teacher’s sphere of influence expanding outside the classroom, as well as motivating and mobilising other individuals. It remains focused on the school’s ultimate vision and goals.
Additionally, Leblanc and Shelton (2012) found that collaboration is fundamental for teacher leaders, while time is the most important resource to make it happen.
This can mean that teacher leadership is a difficult concept to put into practice. With already long hours and staffing challenges for schools across New Zealand, a formalised programme to develop teachers into strong educational leaders can fall down the priority list.
But for those who can implement such a strategy, it can pay dividends in the long-term.