What would keep you at a job where you are unhappy? More money? Vacation time? A sweet office?
If you said yes to any of those options, you are probably wrong.
It’s more likely that you’d stay if you felt you were improving, had control over what you did, and found meaning in your work. In Drive, Daniel Pink’s book about motivation he explains there are three key elements that motivate people. They are mastery (getting good at something), autonomy (being able to direct your own work), and purpose (feeling that your contribution is meaningful).
What does this mean for education?
We need teacher leadership.
More than ever, we need teachers who are life-long learners, find joy in their work, and continuously improve.
According to the New York Times, however, only 44% of teachers in the US feel satisfied with their work.
That number needs to rise if we are going to meet the demands of the 21st Century and keep our best teachers helping students learn.
Need more reasons that we should be fighting for teacher voice and leadership? How about the fact that teacher leadership leads to better results for kids. When we are thinking about policies, whether it’s national laws or daily schedules, adding the perspective of teachers is invaluable.
The list of reasons for teacher leadership goes on. As Roland Barth explained in Education Leadership this month, three current trends are screaming that we should increase teacher leadership.
1) A Need to Share the Load
Running a school is complex! Sharing the leadership could make schools run more effectively.
2) A Curriculum to Create
As we roll out Common Core or any learning goals set on transforming schools, teachers need to revise what and how they teach. A new curriculum for a transformed education system needs to be created and who better to do it than the teachers? Including teachers in the process leads to a two birds with one stone situation: a) Teachers develop curriculum based on a foundation of classroom experience b) Teachers understand with maker’s knowledge the curriculum they are implementing.
3) New Models of Leadership
As we transition to new ways of doing school, we also need to look at new ways of designing how leadership happens in our schools. Gone are the days of complete command and control management in schools. As we help our students develop collaboration skills, educators need to move towards a collaborative model of leadership.
Let’s figure out how we can support teachers as leaders at every level of education and make sure their voices are heard!