A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Teachers Leading the Way: Voices from the National Teacher Forum - April 1998

New Roles for Teachers

"I'm most comfortable in my classroom, teaching with my children," says teacher Julie Ferriss of Mississippi, who echoes the sentiments of many colleagues. "If I could choose to be anywhere, that's where I would be. And 20 years ago, I could do that. I could leave the policy making to the policy makers and the administrating to the administrators, and parenting to the parents, and teaching to me. But it's just not like that anymore."

Traditionally, the work of American teachers has been centered solely in the classroom, helping children learn. Most of teachers' energy is still focused in the classroom. But, in recent years, the need to improve schools has called a growing number of teachers outside their traditional roles to help.

Today teachers are leading efforts to improve the curriculum and promote partnerships with other school districts and universities as well as with parents. They are serving on policymaking boards and testifying on school issues before state legislatures. They are leaders in setting high academic standards for students and in deciding how to help their students reach the standards. The list of leadership positions continues to grow as teachers begin to feel comfortable as education leaders outside of their classrooms.

Ferriss' words reflect the growing awareness of teachers who are learning the importance of teacher leadership.


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