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By Debra J. Housel

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Sample text

Teacher leaders may also contribute to the collective wisdom of the profession through outreach to educators at other schools or presentations at state and local conferences. They recognize that the true benefits of improved practice are not realized when confined to a single setting; they must become incorporated into the more general professional community. Dispositions Dispositions largely define an individual’s approach to situations; when we think about a person, we recall less about that person’s skills or even interests than we do about their traits such as optimism and energy.

Instead, when the going gets tough, they get busy. But they don’t forge ahead blindly; they weigh options, consider alternatives, and assemble colleagues to help solve problems. So what are the dispositions that tend to define teacher leaders? This list does not purport to be comprehensive, but it provides a sense of the personalities of those teachers who emerge to lead their colleagues in important initiatives. Deep Commitment to Student Learning First of all, teacher leaders have an essential focus on the core mission of enhancing student learning.

The concept of teacher leadership recognizes the daunting challenges confronting schools of the 21st century and the need for schools, as organizations, to meet those challenges through innovative structures. Clearly, the strict bureaucratic hierarchy is not sufficient, nor are other approaches that place teachers in the role of receiver of accepted wisdom. Rather, to bring the best to bear on the challenges of education, the engagement of teacher leaders in the enterprise is an important component of any improvement strategy.

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