Teaching is a unique profession in that the responsibilities required are fairly static. 20-year veterans have the same duties as a new hire just out of college. This isn’t negative, and in fact, gives teachers a chance to experiment and try new things as they evolve. Over time, teachers may come to adopt their own unique instruction style.

Leadership in education is essential, but it’s not just the administrators who lead. Veteran teachers can also offer valuable guidance within the school culture.

Let’s take a look at what good leadership means in education and how these 21st-century skills affect the profession.

1. Leaders should be collaborative

The education profession works best if teachers, staff, students, parents, and administration can work together to solve problems and offer innovation in curriculum and assessment. A school culture that discourages collaboration will fail.

Administrators have to lead a diverse staff regarding vision, work style, and expertise. A good administrator understands how these pieces fit together. They can guide accordingly and leverage the strengths of their staff.

Teachers leaders are often the institutional memory of a school. They must be able to see how history meets progress and build relationships between teachers and administrators. They are also the first faces parents see when solving a problem or asking for guidance.

2. Leaders should strive to learn

Administrators understand the value of reflection in some areas. First, they understand data analysis and can glean not only big data but “little data.” This enables them to come up with strategies that benefit the local school vision. Seldom does a teacher become great through a massive revelation about the school they teach at; it’s all about the little lessons picked up along the way.

Teacher leaders are reflective as well. They understand their practice and employ a variety of tools to evaluate both their teaching and interactions with others. They evolve their methods through this reflection and learning.

3. Leaders should lead through guidance

Leading suggests that administrators simply tell teachers and staff what to do, and everyone falls into place. This is difficult in the teaching profession. Instead, administrators must learn to guide the vision of the school and provide a supportive center as the school culture evolves.

Similarly, teacher leaders must also be guides. Students and parents change, administrators change, even teaching faculty changes. Teacher leaders provide guidance that accounts for students’ different needs and understand how to work in a diverse environment.

Education isn’t like other professions regarding growth and movement. Leadership in this area requires delicacy, an understanding of human nature, and continual reflection individually and as a whole.