Teachers are instructional leaders

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 7, 2007

To the editor:

The role of the present-day principal has undergone a profound change.

Traditionalists have theoretically viewed the principal as the sole instructional leader in a school.

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In practice, much of the principal’s time is consumed by activities of management – completing reports, scheduling, handling relations with parents and the community, and dealing with special situations that are inevitable in schools.

There is a new vision for public schools.

Today’s reform educators see the principal and classroom teachers as instructional leaders.

They have a shared responsibility of molding young people’s minds. Distinguished teachers have knowledge and insight about effective instruction that can help improve learning in a school.

Student achievement is very closely related to a quality instructional leader in the classroom. Good teachers are knowledgeable of their subject area(s), and have ideal classroom management skills.

Teachers who demonstrate knowledge to their students tend to gain widespread respect and have less discipline problems.

The new principal seizes the opportunity to utilize the multiple talents of teachers.

When teachers have positive input and are allowed to model their talents, learning thrives.

Leadership is then built across the school community.

Instructional leadership is distributed among the principal and classroom teachers in effective schools.

The new principal realizes that standardized tests are the norm in today’s society.

Classroom teachers’ instructional leadership is valuable in formulating and implementing a school improvement plan.

A recent publication titled, “What it means to be a good principal today?” stated, “It is the new principal’s view that the school has two choices.

It can either allow the state test to shape the school’s agenda and sap its energy, or the school can balance the state test with school-based assessment initiatives that not only more accurately identify and document what students know and can do, but provide information teachers find useful for instruction, students find useful for learning, and parents find useful for understanding and supporting their children.”

It is imperative to empower classroom teachers as instructional leaders.

Several great minds are better than one.

Gerald Shirley


School of Discovery