I’m unsure if it’s because I’ve been in the classroom for 17 years or if I’ve made the choice to take on leadership roles, but I am often asked, “When are you going to become an administrator?”
I always laugh. I started that certification by taking a few classes and realized it wasn’t for me. Plus, I really love being in the classroom and working with students and teachers. From my experience in the secondary setting, the administration didn’t have a whole lot of time to do that work. I realized that the general public thinks that the next step for teachers is to become an administrator.
Let me clear this up once and for all. Some teachers go on to be administrators and I think that’s amazing. However, that is not a path for everyone for a few reasons:
1. The job of an administrator is completely different than that of a teacher. And not all teachers want that path. I get to do all the great parts of my job without having to deal with the “other” stuff.
2. Being a great teacher is not only beneficial to students, but to other staff. As a teacher leader, you can reach other teachers on a different level. It’s one of the main reasons I have the job I do. I work with teachers on a level that I am not their evaluator, I am not a presence that is looking for things that are wrong, and I don’t report to administration unless it’s dire. I am a peer who is there to help them with what they want and need help in.
3. There is a multitude of teacher leadership opportunities available that keep you in the classroom. At the end of the day, I want to be able to work with students.
4. Kids need teachers who will continue to push themselves professionally without the goal of leaving the classroom.
5. Teachers need other teachers who will model those leadership roles and professional successes.
I am grateful for all the incredible teacher leaders I have worked with who have made the choice to continue in the classroom and push themselves professionally. Those teachers have helped blaze the path for teachers like me who want to keep pushing and for students to see just how incredible their teachers can be.
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