What is the value of a Teacher Leader?

Teacher leaders have created a brand of leadership that in many other fields is not found. Their position to motivate comes from a ‘we’re in this together’ comrades’ attitude. The feeling that soldiers in the trenches get when working together toward a common cause. They get the struggles of their fellow soldiers and can push and pull in a way that is frank and candid yet supportive at the same time. Being in arms reach of their fellow teachers allows them to drop by and assist in a non-threatening matter. They can admit mistakes and share what they have learned from those mistakes. That refreshing down-to-earth attitude aids their ability to rally the troops to take on a group or school matter. They know their troops and their troops know them. These leaders know the strengths of their colleagues and schools and where changes should happen. Strong teacher leaders play off of their skills to strengthen their schools.

Over the years, I have seen educators feel like they can only rub shoulders with those in a similar rank. At times it is done slyly by asking where you teach. The answer tells the teacher what you teach and how they should view you. Taiwanese cram school teachers are given a bad rap due to a few unsavory incidents. The sigma is so deep that some landlords denied cram school teachers housing.

I completely agree that being in the trenches gives you a vantage point to be supportive and sympathetic to your peers. You can see firsthand the struggle and roll up your sleeves to assist. Relationships formed in the trenches can create strong bonds. Initially, I found what I disagreed with – testing. One of my great pet peeves is the personality tests that have taken social center stage with the millennials. The thought of allowing someone to tell me who I am by a generic cookie-cutter predefined barrier gets under my skin. That was the first thought that came to mind when I saw the words ‘litmus test’ in Donaldson’s article (2007). It reminded me of another test. However, I realized that this is different. The results are not predefined but rather make you look at yourself from someone else’s vantage point. 

Coffee and Morning Thoughts

I think being available is a daily task.  All three teachers were a fine example of that.  We never know who will need us or when, but having the mindset that I will be available whenever will foster a willingness to be available at the drop of a hat.  If we tell our colleagues or we have an open door policy, but every time they get ready to ask for assistance, our face says the opposite, they will catch the hint.  Of course, we need balance.  However, the overriding feeling should be that we are for our students and the staff. 


Donaldson, G.A. (2007). What Do Teachers Bring to Leadership. Educational Leadership, 65, 26-29.