Viewing teachers as leaders without being administrators.
What makes teachers effective in the classroom? Research indicates that teachers effectiveness is contingent upon the teacher knowing pedagogy, learn theory, knowledge of subject matter, experience as well as other qualifications such as classroom management skills. Teachers effectiveness are often determined by three indicators; teachers' scores on certification, student achievement gains, and the observations of teachers' teaching practice by experts (Creemers, Kyriakides and Antoniou, 2013).
A leader is defined as a person who commands or leads a faction of persons such as students, an organization or government (Keohane, 2010). The capacity of leaders to lead other people is a manifestation of their ability to influence them to believe in their vision. This assertion means that the followers will abandon their individual ideas to conform and align with the vision of a leader. A teacher is a leader based on their influence to make sure that students channel their energies into explicit academic goals or ideas. This impact is achieved within the classroom. An administrator is a legally appointed person to manage the operations and the running of an organization, for instance, a school, a business or a college (Lunenburg & Ornstein, 2012). An administrator ensures that the overall operations of an organization are in line with established vision, mission, and objectives. For this reason, an administrator oversees the daily operations of the organizations. In a school context, there are some administrators such as the school principal and the assistant principal. The school principal is answerable to the superintendent of the schools whereas the assistant principal is accountable to the school principal. The roles that teachers perform in their quest to fulfill their job responsibilities portray them as leaders in comparison to administrators. Whereas administrative functions are considered to be part of leadership, teaching can also be alleged autonomously to be part of the leadership without a correlation to administration. Therefore, it is beyond question that teachers can be viewed as leaders without being administrators. The viewpoint that teachers are leaders without ideally being administrators will be examined in the paper.
To start with, teachers should be viewed as leaders without ideally being administrators because of the reforms and transformation in the education system that has eliminated the administrative function of the teachers. In the early American society, teachers had defined responsibilities that fashioned them to be not only leaders in the class context, but also administrators. The teachers managed one-room classrooms, established curricula and tailored their influence based on the learning abilities of the students. As a result, teacher administration and leadership function was essential and not a preference because of the distinct roles of the teachers. Lieberman and Miller (2005) explained that the teachers were administrators of the regular classrooms operations. The administration manifested itself from the teachers making decisions in the manner they deemed fit to edify the curricula founded on the needs of the students. The teachers could simply attend to the needs of individual students. Despite the teachers being a reflection of a teacher-leadership and administration, the teachers were not certified or appointed administrators. However, with the introduction of the education reforms in the United States, the roles and the responsibilities of both the schools and teachers changed. The amendment in the roles of the teacher was palpable from the shift of being an expert teacher to being a school employee. The change was ascribed to the fact that the school underwent changes regarding the school size as well as increased school management complexity. The size changes, besides, to the complexities that defined the school demanded the need for administrative hierarchies and power structures. The newly established power structures and administrative hierarchies played a tremendous role in placing the teachers at the lower ends of the power structure as well as removing the teachers from the administration function of the schools especially the classrooms. The removal of the teachers from the administrative role of the school was attributed to the fact that the new reforms in the education sector moved the administration function to a central office (Araya, 2015). The educational reforms that were designed to ensure that there was increased professionalism in the defined roles of the teachers resulted in increased bureaucracy in the schools as organizations. The bureaucracy was at the expense of enhancing teachers' professionalism because of the reality that the reforms mainly defined the teachers to be mere education givers. The teachers could no longer plan or influence their curricula. The teachers had to adhere strictly to the curriculum that was offered by the administrative structure. Moreover, the teachers were under stringent scrutiny from the professional education observers whose role was to ensure that the teachers adhered to the desired curricula. As a result, the teachers were significantly and in a real sense reduced to mere employees whose role was to enforce the given curricula in the ever growing schools that were defined by complex administration structures. The new roles of teachers as mere education givers could only permit them to practice leadership at the expense of being administrators (Creemers, Kyriakides & Antoniou, 2013).
Equally, teachers can be viewed as leaders without being administrators in the schools because of job specialization in the contemporary professional world. Williams and Champion (2011) define job specialization as the practice of concentrating individual's occupational focus on an explicit area of expertise. Job specialization is often encouraged to ensure that there is total output from the employees. Job specialization occurs in positions that are characterized by a small part of a larger process. As a consequence, it is defined by straightforward, easy-to-learn steps, high reiteration, and low variety. The assertion signifies that the worker is only supposed to perform a precise role or duty within a process in the organization. The capacity to carry out a clear-cut role often results in job monotony that is acclaimed to the repetitive nature of the responsibilities. Job specialization in schools is apparent from teachers acting as elements of conferring knowledge to the students or teaching, the principal performing the administrative roles only, the librarians executing their duties in the confinement of the libraries and the school drivers limited to driving alone. The job specialization in the big schools that is defined by central administration process places the teachers to be employees who are merely supposed to teach. Other roles within the school premises are assigned to other experts to ensure that there are maximum efficiency and professionalism. The job specialization process in the school merely permits the teachers to be perceived as leaders but not as administrators. According to Ashu (2014) the perception of the teachers as administrators in the schools only means that the teachers are performing jobs that are beyond their capacity of training or specialization. However, the teachers can be perceived as leaders because at the class level they engage in roles and responsibilities that require and imply leadership. The leadership viewing of the teacher is evident within the classroom setting and at times beyond the classroom settings. The leadership instance of the teachers is palpable from their capacity to influence the learners towards enhanced education practice. The teachers are considered to be complete leaders because of two significant reasons that are the capability to provide direction and the practice to influence within the class setting. For this reason, these are responsibilities that can be practiced by the teachers while enforcing their specialized job that is teaching. In most instances, job specialization is a result of an individual having certain skills through training and experience in the enforcing of given job. In this case, efficient administration attracts the need for specific management skills that limit the capacity of the teachers to be excellent administrators beyond the classrooms. Teachers can be capable administrators to a limited extent that is the classroom. In the case of managing the large modern schools defined with many departments, it is essential that an adequately trained administrator assumes the role (Creemers, Kyriakides & Antoniou, 2013). Therefore, the perception of teachers to be viewed leaders without being actual administrators is facilitated by the fact that job specialization permits teachers to be perceived as leaders because of the ability to exercise influence and confer direction in the classroom context.
The third reason teachers can be viewed as a leader without being administrators is attributed to the fact that effective teaching demands the need for leadership skills and traits. The skills that define leaders are the following; the ability to inspire and motivate others, displaying high degree of honesty and integrity, the capacity to solve problems, to be driven by results, the ability to communicate prolifically and powerfully, ability to create pleasant relationships, develop other people and the ability to be innovative (Lieberman & Miller, 2005). Equally, the leaders are defined by the following traits dominance, selfless, self-assurance, enthusiasm, compulsiveness, emotional stability, and tough-mindedness. In the quest of the teachers fulfilling their responsibilities and duties, it is essential for the teachers to have both the leadership skills and characteristics. The capacity of a teacher to have both the leadership skills and traits results in an all-around competent teacher. Lieberman and Miller, (2005) allege that an effective teacher is defined by the following. Firstly, an effective teacher is epitomized by the ability to contribute to positive academic, social and attitudinal outcomes for the learners, for instance, regular school attendance. To facilitate regular school attendance, the teacher is not only expected to motivate the students to value education but also be dominant over the students. Secondly, an effective teacher always has high expectations for the learners along with helping them to learn through test-based and value-added techniques. The accomplishment of this requirement will demand that the teacher is result oriented, guided by explicit objective, besides, being conscientiousness. Thirdly, an effective teacher must be capable of utilizing different resources to structure engaging learning opportunities, adapt to administrative instruction, assess learning premised on multiple evidence-based sources and monitor the student development. For this reason, the teacher needs to be a manifestation of the leadership traits such as emotional intelligence and enthusiasm, in addition to, the leadership skills such as the ability to develop others and be innovative. Subsequently, an effective teacher is illustrated by the capability to develop schools and classrooms that appreciate diversity and civic mindedness. The capacity of the teacher to achieve this influence is dependable with the aptitude to communicate efficiently on the significance of a society that is defined by diversity and civic mindedness. Additionally, the teacher must have the skill to perform duties with integrity and honesty so that they are role models for the learners. Lastly, an effective teacher must be competent in collaborating and working with other teachers, parents, administrators and other education professionals to guarantee the success of the learners. The competence is fundamentally indispensable especially for learners with special needs. To achieve this skill, the teacher must be capable of cultivating cordial relationships with others, be selfless by putting the goals and needs of students before their needs and tough-mindedness. Based on the attributes of an effective teacher, it is conclusive that teachers are fundamentally leaders at the classroom and school level based on their roles and responsibilities for both the learners and other school stakeholders (McMillan & McMillan, 2008). Consequently, the teachers can be viewed to be leaders in the classrooms and schools without necessarily being actual administrators.
Lastly, teachers can be leaders without being actual administrators because of the autonomy the teachers have to display in the enforcement of duties and responsibilities. Griffin (2014) affirms that teachers are supposed to be autonomous leaders distinct with the ability to think and enforce responsibility independently as well as display initiative. The reforms that schools have undergone in the country have encouraged the teachers to reflect on their self-practice. In spite of the changes permitting the teachers to reflect on their practice, it is observable that the teachers are rarely encouraged to voice and develop personal perceptions about policy and curriculum issues that influence the students and school as an organization. The sense of teacher autonomy has often raised a debate on whether or not the teachers should act as they perceive fit to the students without consulting the administration. However, stemmed from the fact the teachers are part of the school system, it is essential for autonomy to be practiced by the teacher. The teachers, who are defined by the sense of independence thought, perceive the outlines by the district or state curriculum to be the guides while the standards of the district curriculum to be objectives (McGrath, 2013). For this reason, the way in which the teachers prefer to meet state or national goals or design the curriculum ought not to be in conflict with the threshold of the school improvement. For instance, it is only necessary that the nation and the state should establish and provide the goals and the targets for the schools, but resign the manner of achieving these aims and objectives to the educators or the teachers within a particular school. The author further alleges that the sense of autonomy among the teachers that illustrate them to be leaders rule out the perception of teachers based on being administrators because the freedom does not permit the teachers to engage in roles that define an administrator (Creemers, Kyriakides & Antoniou, 2013). Whereas the roles of the administrators in the school fundamentally enjoy the autonomy to cover the whole school regarding the objectives and the directions the institution has to take, the role of a teacher is limited to the classroom and rarely affects the entire organization as a single entity. The autonomy of the teacher is more perceived to be a sense of leadership contrary to being an administrative function. The aptitude to make decisions, for instance, dividing of the learning resources among students or establishing goals and targets for individual learners is more of a leadership decision contrary to being an administrative function in class context. Decision-making; a primary component of autonomy, epitomizes all professions where experts or workers have to make decisions based on their job responsibilities and duties. The autonomy that the teachers enjoy in class always result in the teachers to create not only an original space but also fashions more control of the classroom to enhance the capacity to make a difference in the learning outcomes (Nichols, 2011). The conferring of the teachers the ability to make decisions has often raised the question of the need for the teachers to be responsible for the decisions they make concerning the students. However, it is crucial to concede that teachers are closer to the students and comprehend the academic needs of individual students.
Whereas teachers can be viewed as leaders without being administrators, the perception has been discredited by other scholars who perceive that for the teachers to be seen as leaders they must be administrators. Two dissenting perspectives have been offered by this school of thought. The dissenting views are;
The first viewpoint provided by teachers need to be administrators to be viewed as leaders is premised on the roles that define administration as an element of leadership which are not performed by the teachers. Ediger and Bhaskara (2003) assert that teachers cannot be observed as leaders without being administrators because of the management role that illustrates leadership. Based on the management role by school administrators, the following roles are performed. The first management role by the administrators is the planning and designing of the school budget for each financial year. The school administrators have the responsibility of defining the budget of the school, besides, to ensuring that essential resources are available to facilitate the school budget (Brunsell, Kneser & Niemi, 2014). The second management role carried out by the school administrators is overseeing the support operations of the school. The support operations of the school entail roles that make sure the school is operating based on the set objectives from the state and federal government as well as the school board. These supporting operations include overseeing the teachers to ensure they are attending classes, abiding by the objectives established in the curriculum and other functions such as the school driver fulfilling their duties (Brunsell, Kneser & Niemi, 2014). The third management role that is carried out by school administrators is reporting on the schools superintendent on the teachers' performance. The role can be accomplished by working together with the professional academic observes send by the state and the federal government to assess the performance of the teachers. The last management job carried out by school administrators is the supervising and carrying out of new projects for the school. The role entails rolling out new programs or projects within the academic context to either enhance the performance of the school or the school setting (Brunsell, Kneser & Niemi, 2014). The management roles that define leadership are purely carried out by the school administrators in contrast to the teachers. Araya (2015) explain that teachers never perform any management role in school hence cannot be viewed as leaders. The administrators engage in the management roles because of expertise to perform the function. Whereas leadership is innate and management skill is developed; it is arguable that the training process of the managers complements leadership. As a result, a professionally trained manager will make a good leader as compared to a person who is trained in another aspect such as teaching. The assertion merely signifies that school administrators having the knowledge and training in the management will not only make them outstanding school leaders but will also be considered leaders (Araya, 2015). For this reason, the teachers with no training skills in management or administrative functions cannot be considered to be leaders. This school of thought, however, is short on convincing many scholars because many teachers perform management roles at a classroom level that can be presumed to be administrative. The management functions carried out by the teacher at the classroom level include the establishing new projects for the students and supervising them, utilizing the allocated class resources for all students and setting objectives and goals for the students at an individual level based on their academic needs. As a result, it is conclusive that teachers can be perceived to be leaders without necessarily being administrators.
The second dissenting perspective offered by this school of thought to affirm that teachers cannot be viewed as leaders if they are not administrators is from the standpoint of job flexibility in the global economy. Brunsell, Kneser, and Niemi, (2014) aver that whereas the term globalization is frequently used, the economy is factored to be a sector of the community that is directly affected. The contemporary world economy places people in a situation where they have to hold a dynamic perspective of career and work. Contrary to workers or employees holding to a particular job or line of duty for life, it is essential for the workers to change or switch their careers a number of times in life. The assertion is accredited to the fact that the ever-changing world is always experiencing a decline in the need for the manual laborers and increase in the knowledge-based workers demand. The sense of teacher not to be perceived as administrators in the global economy is palpable where the teachers are not measured to be capable of enjoying career flexibility. Rarely are there instances of the teachers changing jobs. The authors further declare that most of the teachers that opt to change their jobs are often limited by their training to engage in careers that are related to teaching, for instance, early childhood caregivers or policy makers. The inability of the teachers to be perceived as incapable of enjoying career flexibility in the global economy fundamentally makes them not to manifest as administrators. For this stated reason, the teachers cannot be supposed to be leaders. In contrast to the teachers, administrators often enjoy or have career flexibility that means they can comfortably change their line of duty or job. This school of thought presented by Brunsell, Kneser, and Niemi, (2014) is reasonably not substantiated. Teaching comparable to any other career has flexibility where the teachers can readily change their line of careers. Lieberman and Miller (2005) explain that teachers can enjoy career flexibility through undergoing further training or furthering their education. Therefore, the dissenting school of thought founded on teachers not to enjoy career flexibility as comparable to administrators is not factual. Moreover, the correlation of job flexibility necessitated by global economy to administration and leadership is unfounded. As much as the world economy demands job flexibility as a career survival and development technique, it is conclusive that job security surpasses the sense of job flexibility (Lieberman & Miller, 2005).
Teachers can be perceived to be leaders without being administrators. A leader entails a person who fundamentally can influence other people to conform to their vision. The power is attributed to the trust that the people have on the leader. A teacher is a person who is certified to be a part-time or full-time worker capable of teaching students on particular subjects. The ability of the teachers to successful enforces their duties and responsibilities to the learners and the school as a whole entail attributes that compare them to a leader. The ability of the teachers to fully carry out these roles and duties rarely attracts any administrative function as a result; drawing little or no significance to the teachers being administrators. Teachers are a reflection of a leader through sharing of duties that are comparable to leadership in contrast administration. The primary reasons that confirm teachers can be viewed as leaders without being administrators are the following. The first reason is founded on the defined transformations and changes that the education system has been subjected to in the United States. The changes in the education systems have reduced the administrative function or eliminated the administrative functions of teachers in spite of upholding the leadership role of the teachers. The second reason is the presence of job specialization that limits the ability of teachers either being viewed as administrators or being administrators. The reason is ascribed to the reality that administration in the contemporary world is observed as a role that can be played by solely persons with training or skills in administration practice. The third reason teachers can be viewed as leaders without being administrators is the fact that teaching demands the presence of leadership skills to be an effective leader in contrast to the need of administrative skills. The responsibilities of teaching require the incorporation of leadership skills for it to be effective. The last reason teachers can be perceived to be leaders without being administrators is the autonomy that characterizes the enforcement of the duties by the teachers.
LOUIS L. WARREN
East Carolina University
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|Author:||Warren, Louis L.|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2016|
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