It was recently reported in a November 3rd, 2009 ASCD Blog that presenter Ann Nkiruka Ifekwunigwe posed the question at her ASCD Fall Conference session, “Preparing Successful Teacher Leaders: What Have We Learned?” Following that question she shared her research about why leadership is such an important concern.
Ifekwunigwe pointed out:
- Many teachers who continue teaching beyond their fifth year fall into traditional routines and experience a reduced interest in teaching (Huberman, 1989).
- Successful teachers may leave teaching because they become dissatisfied with the established career path, one that provides little opportunity for advancement unless one moves into school administration (Towery, Salim, & Hom, 2009).
- When teachers pursue leadership roles that provide greater influence in curriculum and instruction, they may not feel the need to become an administrator to grow professionally (Ackerman & Mackenzie, 2007).
Throughout this ASCD session, educators were provided the opportunity to share their perspectives on teacher and administrative leadership. The overwhelming majority voiced their opinion that it is essential that we provide teachers with far more opportunities than those which presently exist. This statement was fueled by the participants’ perception that today’s administrators are “overwhelmed and can’t do it all.”
Coupled with those premises, we are faced with the sobering fact there is an even greater urgency which exists within this realm. We have reached a crucial “tipping point” in education, where there is a need for not only additional administrators….but for quality administrators who are prepared to meet the increased challenges of shrinking budgets, coupled with the intense pressure to increase student achievement.
Our preparatory programs need to do a far better job in designing and implementing curriculums that meet the ‘real” needs of these future leaders. Our professional development programs must continue to reach out and provide the necessary tools to give those committed individuals a fighting chance to achieve success.
There is just no more time to waste in this regard. The clock is ticking and it’s nearly midnight.