Be a Teacher Leader: Tips for Leading as You Teach

By Community Manager posted 01-25-2022 01:46 PM



Scenario: You are a beginning second-grade teacher who learns about the poor performance of third-graders in writing a text-dependent analysis (TDA). While in college, you were on the debating team and recognized how the club contributed to your writing skills, especially with TDAs. You want to focus on the development of the students in your homeroom and not take on the hassle of extra work; however, you are aware of effective strategies that may help the third-graders. What do you do with the experience you have? Can you find ways to share this knowledge with colleagues?

Generally, new teachers enter their classrooms with zeal and excitement, ready to cater to students’ needs. New teachers have good intentions to transfer knowledge into the development of homeroom students. Catering to your homeroom students’ needs is fantastic, but you also may consider extending educational boundaries beyond the homeroom and become a teacher leader who drives positive change among peers. Spreading your skills within your school can be rewarding as you demonstrate leadership qualities. A teacher leader offers considerate concepts and proposals on issues faced by schools and school districts. Teacher leaders let their voices be heard in diverse situations and develop new and innovative programs or structures while collaborating with colleagues (Crippen & Willows, 2019).

Sharing your knowledge with colleagues in a new building may improve your teaching capabilities and confidence in teaching. Beginning teachers should demonstrate their strengths and use them to improve schools and school districts where necessary. Cosenza (2015) stated, “Teachers are beginning to view themselves as professionals who have a voice in their own vocation.” Here are some tips for becoming a teacher leader:

  1. Support professional learning communities (PLC). Professional learning communities promote the sharing and seeking of learning, and aid in demonstrating acts of the learning. Teacher leaders are bold and willing to support colleagues by cooperating to improve weak areas. Teacher leaders therefore (a) listen to teachers’ struggles, (b) share experience/expertise in the area, and (c) work as a team with teachers to formulate best practices for improving or strengthening the issue.
  2. Stimulate others with expertise. Teachers are always open to new ideas, especially if they’ve been proven to work. Teacher leaders use creative ways to capture teachers’ attention and gain buy-in on shared strategies. Use clear examples, conduct research to show teachers the benefits of the approach, and be ready to respond to questions. Some teachers will take longer to buy in to a concept, but don’t give up—continue to be optimistic and positive. 
  3. Show a passion for growth. Displaying your passion for the topic or area is one way to show colleagues that the strategy works. Many preservice teachers are natural leaders. Exercising your influence while working as a teacher may provide the opportunity to practice your passion and improve the school community. Growth is inevitable when everyone is working for the common good.  
  4. Identify problems, weaknesses, and opportunities. Take every opportunity to improve your school. Be proactive and work collaboratively with colleagues. Research has shown that, regardless of years of experience, teacher leadership ideas are reaching all teachers (Cosenza, 2015). Identify problems and weaknesses in your school community, gain support from administrators, and use the chance to share your expertise and improve the school. 

Concluding Thoughts

As a preservice, 21st-century teacher, you have already acquired much relevant knowledge. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinions, collaborate with colleagues, and communicate with administrators. Listen and share your expertise to promote the development of your school. Being a teacher leader comes with real benefits. Some of them include teacher retention, improved school culture, and, more importantly, enhanced educational growth for your students. Be the best teacher you can be!


What is teacher leadership? 

By Stephanie Williams-Britton

Dr. Williams-Britton has been an educator for over twenty years. Britton is Jamaican- born and is currently an elementary/early childhood certified educator in the United States of America. Her intention is to train student teachers and share her expertise in the teaching profession. Britton’s current project entails the initiation of a non-profit organization (Aid for International Teachers) to provide assistance for international teachers as they transition in their new school districts.


Cosenza, M. N. (2015). Defining teacher leadership: Affirming the teacher leader model standards. Issues in Teacher Education24(2), 79–99.

Crippen, C., & Willows, J. (2019). Connecting teacher leadership and servant leadership: A synergistic partnership. Journal of Leadership Education18(2), 171–178.