Teacher Leadership Tools
The Boston Teacher Leadership Certificate program was established in 2010 to be a learning organization that could not only support teachers to strengthen their abilities to be professional resources for one another, school improvement and district reform, but also to build knowledge about the conditions required for that to happen.
Discover some of the tools we have developed through our organizational learning routines.
We believe that leadership should be a shared responsibility and that students will be better served when all adults in a school are able to contribute to improved teaching and learning throughout their school. Teachers can lead informally, such as by asking critical questions of colleagues, looking together at student work, or sharing their instructional decision-making processes; and they can lead through formal roles, such as team leader, coach, or mentor. Yet in all cases, teacher leadership must be coordinated with the actions of other leaders in their contexts.
The tools and templates below have been developed in response to the lessons learned from our work. We believe they can help school and district leaders create strong contexts in which teachers and leaders share ownership of improving teaching and learning.
What can teachers do as leaders?
- Visit this Inventory of Teacher Leader Roles identifying 43 formal roles that Boston teachers have reported holding. While it was created to help Boston principals make more strategic matches between the roles they are responsible for appointing and the expertise available among the school faculty, it can be used as a model to guide role development and support beyond Boston.
- No matter what leadership roles teachers hold, the commitments and expectations of what they will do in those roles should be clear to all. Principals and teacher leaders can work together to clarify the commitments and expectations of formal teacher leader roles with this Role/ Job Description Template.
What can principals do to maximize the impact of teacher leaders on student learning?
- Principals play a key role in shaping the school conditions that enable teachers to lead the way to improved student learning in informal and formal ways. This list of School Conditions and Sample Strategies helps principals consider whether they have set up their schools for success.
- As teachers strengthen their skills as leaders, strategic support from school leaders can help them to make a bigger difference. This Chart of Key Principal Moves is aligned with the core leadership skills addressed by the Boston Teacher Leadership Certificate program.
- Principals and teacher leaders should set aside time to connect and be sure they are on the same page. This series of Leadership Discussion Guides is designed to facilitate productive, focused conversations that can lead to more efficient and more effective alignment of their leadership efforts. Currently there are four free, downloadable guides:
Where can I read more about the BTLC program?
- Read a blog post by BTLC course facilitator, Noah Patel, published in the Impatient Optimist, the blog of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Download a bibliography of other articles and books.
How can I get involved?
- In Boston: Click here to join ongoing courses
- Beyond Massachusetts: Click here to contact Program Director, Jill Harrison Berg Ed.D.