In February of this year, four leading education groups — The National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the U.S. Department of Education — met at the 2016 National Summit on Teachers Leadership to encourage and empower more educators to be leaders in their classrooms, schools, districts and in education reform across the country.
“[Teacher leadership] needs to be so embedded in the profession that it’s an expectation… I am supposed to lead,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García at the Summit. “It’s not separate from your routine as teachers.”
For education students pursuing their degree, it is essential to understand that being a teacher and a leader are not two separate entities. Becoming an education leader does not have to mean leaving the classroom behind — it simply means sharing ideas, suggestions and new techniques with other educators.
One tool available to educators that creates a space for collaboration, shared ideas, and an arena to simply start the conversation of advancing education, is Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). These can be gatherings that take place in person, but are more commonly held online in private, closed-groups on Facebook or spaces like NEA’s EdCommunities.
“One of the most effective vehicles for educators to lead change and innovation in the classroom are Professional Learning Communities (PLCs),” share education experts in an article by NEA Today. “Virtual PLCs allow educators to connect with their counterparts everywhere, creating a critical mass of thoughtful educators who learn, reflect and capitalize on the wisdom of the crowd.”
For bachelors in education students looking to find collaboration within a professional community of educators while still in college there is William Woods’ chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an honor society for Education majors, where teachers and future teachers can come together, build leadership skills, share ideas and further their education.
William Woods University also offers several advanced education graduate degree programs for those interested in leadership, including:
- Doctorate in Educational Leadership
- Education Specialist Administration degree
- Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction degree
- Master of Education (Med) in Administration
- Master of Education (MEd) in Athletics/Activities Administration
- MEd in Curriculum and Instruction
- Special Education Director Certification