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Teacher Leadership

The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition

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Edited By Eleanor Blair

Teacher leadership as a dimension of teachers’ work has never been more important. This topic has emerged as a major component of both state and national standards, and as such, it is included in most contemporary teacher education programs. Three decades of research have focused on teacher leadership as an essential element of school improvement, but its relationship to the potential transformation of the teaching profession remains unexplored. This revised edition of Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education provides an overview of the scholarship being done in the field and a framework for questions and discussions regarding the sustainability of teacher leadership efforts. In this edition, each of the five sections is accompanied by an introduction and reflection questions on the various issues related to teachers acting as leaders in classrooms, schools and communities. The book opens with a completely new section that presents scholarship related to teacher leadership and social justice, where the role of ideology in the work of teacher leaders is considered. This book includes the work of over thirty authors and is an essential tool for guiding dialogue regarding the various facets of teacher leadership and its impact on school culture, student learning and professional learning communities within the context of twenty-first century school reform. Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader is intended for undergraduate and graduate education students.
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11. The Time Is Ripe (Again)

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CHAPTER 11



The Time Is Ripe (Again)

Roland S. Barth

Is this a promising time for teacher leadership? As someone who’s been in education for 50 years, serving as both a teacher and a principal, I’ve found that it’s always been a promising time for teacher leadership. It’s just never been a successful time. It’s never happened on a wider scale.

So what continues to stand in the way of teachers assuming serious leadership of schools? Five obstacles strike me as the most inhibiting.

First, many principals need to control what goes on in school. Principals are ultimately responsible. If I, as a principal, delegate or accept a teacher’s leadership of something and it goes badly—say, staff development or developing the science curriculum—the superintendent isn’t going to call that teacher. He or she is going to call me. So I have to be really careful about relinquishing control. And most principals just don’t want to relinquish it.

There’s also a taboo in our profession against one teacher elevating himself or herself above the others. You see it with merit-pay discussions, but you also see it when one teacher takes responsibility for something in the school and the other teachers are just worrying about their own 30 kids. The teacher who takes a leadership role can expect to be punished by fellow teachers.

It’s just a very leveling profession. Teachers...

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