The state should support teachers to take on leadership opportunities that allow them to continue teaching.
State Support for Teacher Leadership: Tennessee adopted the Teacher Leader Model Standards, which include a cohesive, transparent set of skills and competencies to guide and encourage the development of teacher leaders. The state publishes an annual guidebook that contains different models that are "grounded in these standards, yet illustrate distinct pathways for ... schools and districts to consider when attempting to leverage the power and potential of teacher leader development."
Teacher leadership is also an indicator in both the state's Instructional Leadership Standards (TILS) and the administrator evaluation rubric to ensure that all principals are developing and supporting teacher leaders in their buildings and districts.
Selection Criteria: Tennessee districts determine the identification and selection process. Suggested examples include: writing samples, interviews, use of evaluation data, case studies and data exercises, and personality inventories.
Incentives and Supports: Tennessee allows districts to determine whether incentives and supports are offered to teacher leaders. However, the state does require districts to differentiate teacher compensation based on at least one of the following criteria: additional roles or responsibilities, hard-to-staff schools or subject areas, and performance based on teacher evaluations. "Instructional roles and/or responsibilities are defined as duties assigned to educators that allow them to build leadership capacity and increase effective educator practice across schools and the district. Roles should support increasing educator effectiveness at the grade, school, or district level."
Tennessee Teacher Leader Network: https://www.tn.gov/education/teaching-in-tennessee/teacher-leader-guidebook/teacher-leader-network.html Strategic Compensation Policy 5.600 https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/stateboardofeducation/documents/5.600_Strategic_Compensation_Policy_5-24-17.pdf
Support teacher leadership opportunities.
Tennessee should strengthen its policy and encourage teachers to assume leadership or advanced career positions while allowing them to remain in the classroom. This will enable teachers to aspire for professional growth opportunities and increased involvement in educational decisions for their school and community and may ultimately result in a more confident, empowered, and professionally satisfied teaching force.
Base criteria for leadership roles on effectiveness and content knowledge.
Tennessee should ensure that teachers selected for leadership roles have a record of effectiveness in the classroom and bring substantial teaching experience and subject-matter knowledge.
Offer incentives or supports to teachers who assume leadership roles.
Tennessee should offer—or encourage districts to offer—either financial incentives or nonmonetary supports to assist teacher leaders. To allow effective teacher leaders to remain in the classroom, Tennessee should ensure that principals provide time and space for the tasks of both teacher of record and teacher leadership roles, which may be accomplished, for example, through a reduction of class loads.
Tennessee indicated that since 2013-14, the state has prioritized teacher leadership as a strategic initiative and convened 62 districts to design, develop and implement teacher leadership models.
The state also noted that since 2014-15, it has prioritized strategic compensation and differentiated pay as a strategic imitative and annually reviews, analyzes and monitors district's differentiated pay plans. In 2018-19, approximately 122 districts identified instructional roles in their plans and provides additional compensation for those duties. Since 2013, Tennessee has supported, through policy, initiative, technical assistance and resources, opportunities for teachers to assume leadership roles and/or advanced career positions that allow them to continue teaching. Tennessee asserted that their policies should earn the state a higher score in this goal.
Rather than leave it up to the discretion of districts, Tennessee is strongly encouraged to strengthen its policy and require that teacher leaders receive either financial incentives and/or nonmonetary supports.
9C: Leadership Opportunities
Research from the past four decades widely supports leadership roles for teachers. Teachers aspire to engage in leadership and professional growth opportunities, and desire more participation in decisions about instruction. Research suggests teacher leaders should be involved in policy and decision-making at some level.
Research has not found a relationship between teacher leadership and student achievement; however, the presence of teacher leadership opportunities in schools has benefits for individual teacher leaders, as well as the school-wide teacher community. Teacher leaders feel more confident, empowered, and professionally satisfied; they also feel that leadership roles allowed them to grow professionally. Teachers in schools with teacher leadership opportunities report that such opportunities contribute to greater teacher empowerment, professional community, and collective responsibility. For their school community, teachers in leadership roles have the capacity to increase teacher collaboration, spread best practices, encourage teacher professional learning, and focus on content-specific issues. Teacher leaders support professional learning communities by conducting formal professional development or assisting other teachers in classrooms. By concurrently serving as teachers, teacher leaders are likely to be more effective in both roles.
Teacher leaders selected for these roles should bring substantial teaching experience and knowledge of the curriculum, as well as effective instruction. Insofar as strong teacher leadership systems should ensure that teacher leaders also remain in the classroom as teachers, principals should provide time and space for the tasks of both teacher of record and teacher leadership roles, such as reducing class loads.