What’s a Teacher Leader’s Expiration Date?

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Members of the Teacher’s Leadership Network asked: “What’s a Teacher Leader’s Expiration Date? After discussion, they answered the question with two more questions:

1. Can teachers fully develop as leaders, learning the skills necessary for working with adults and seeing education from a broader perspective if they remain in the classroom for their whole careers?

2. Can teachers who step into leadership roles really hold onto a legitimate understanding of what it means to be a classroom teacher?

After thinking about their discussion, I posted the following:

You ask a sensitive question, one that many people outside of schools have answered and moved on.

The generic question appears to be: Can a teacher lead?

Some argue that the Q is an oxymoron.

Teaching addresses the past, what is known, and conveying it to another generation of potential doers.

Leadership addresses movement forward into what is not known.

Many non-educators find teacher talk about educational leadership amusing, at best.

I’ve heard engineers and highly educate business and political people talk about how they will not knowingly enter a room or a party with teachers, because they do not want even to hear such “teacher talk.”

These people respect education, but have little understanding about how talking about educational leadership assists students increase learning rates enough, so they can compete for life styles in a global economy.

How can teacher leaders make sense to such non-educators?

How do you think educators and non-educators can get agree when considering topics of teaching, education, and leadership? How does advanced technology for instruction and learning fit into these agreements?

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Robert Heiny
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in [I]The Encyclopedia of Education [/I](1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for [I]TuxReports[/I].com.