Learn and Lead
Leadership Skills and Implementation Updated March 2, 2020

5 School Leadership Qualities Every Teacher Possesses

By Alisa Bates, PhD

Teachers have various levels of school leadership qualities. Some are learned and some are part of their personality. Great teachers possess a combination of leadership qualities that are respected by the students, parents, peers and the community. They can accomplish important tasks because of this connection they have with their profession and the people they touch through it.

Commitment to the students and educators

When one talks about a person’s commitment to teaching, they are speaking of a deep connection with many people throughout the organization.

They are dedicated to providing each student the best possible environment and tools for learning.

They work with the parents to understand what challenges the students may have to learning and what approaches might work best with them individually.

They engage their coworkers for input on how to structure their lesson plans and teaching style to be the best educator.

Great teachers are also highly involved with the institution to create the highest quality educational opportunities for the students attending.

A few areas in which a teacher can get involved outside of the classroom include:

  • Committees to determine the optimum amount of time students should spend in different subjects
  • Student teacher mentoring programs to orient and coach new teachers
  • Projects to review and recommend new approaches to homework

Passionate about teaching and learning

As a leader, teachers are always practicing their art and learning how to improve their techniques. They listen in class for opportunities to teach. One student’s question can drive an entire lesson plan from which all students will benefit. Teachers are not looking for short answers. They look for explanations that present several concepts and perspectives to the students.

These teachers watch their peers and learn from their teaching styles. They ask to be observed and for feedback on how to reach the students in their classroom. They are open to suggestions and to trying new things. They know how to quickly adjust their style.

They will be involved in activities that improve teaching within the organization:

  • Lead a group to review and comment on the adopted approaches to teaching various topics
  • Deliver presentations to student teachers on best practices within the classroom
  • Research alternative classroom assessment methods and present to the administration

Collaboration with others

Teachers know that the best way to be successful is to work with others to create a quality teaching environment. They will look for those with similar passions and solicit support from people at all levels within the school system. They maintain the respect from others for their high quality of teaching standards, and they give recognition to others for their approaches. They know that they can’t do it all by themselves so the teacher looks for others with the right skills to help and support. They also don’t take all of the credit for success. They share it throughout the team with which they work.

They may choose to work on a number of projects with others in the school system:

  • Gather information about the best professional development opportunities for teachers
  • Create an in-service program to team teach alternative classroom techniques
  • Review current school recognition policies and make recommendations on additional ways to reward teachers

Communication and rapport

Great teachers are great communicators. They know the best ways to interact with students, parents, faculty and coworkers. They are skilled at listening and respect the opinions and ideas of others. Teachers know how to communicate their own ideas so others will understand. They look for different ways to communicate knowing that people are receptive to various techniques:

  • Create a classroom or department newsletter
  • Research approaches to holding parent/teacher conferences
  • Present different speaking styles to teachers to try in the classroom

Embracing change

Throughout every teacher’s career a number of changes will occur. The class profile can be different from year to year. The materials used in the classroom changes. Administration and policies change. A great teacher knows this and anticipates change. They are courageous about trying new things and aren’t hesitant to make adjustments until they are as effective as they can be.

Change gives teachers the opportunity to perform their roles even better. So rather than waiting until they are directed, they seek out ways to improve. They know this not only benefits themselves, but also the students and faculty with which they work. Some proactive approaches to change they might use include:

  • Personal and professional development classes
  • Substitute teaching in other types of school settings
  • Observing the changes made by other teachers and facilities

Great teachers are great leaders

Teachers who are committed to their profession have similar qualities to leaders in other areas. They are not just thinking about themselves, but how their efforts will produce successes for all of those who are a part of their profession.

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