Teachers not only exert significant influence on the performance of students, they also influence the performance of other teachers and school leaders. And for many, the professional practices and action research from peers has far more impact than reading journal articles or even undergraduate or graduate courses.
This supports what has been mentioned previously: The direct observation of the professional practices of teachers by teachers must become the new foundation of professional development .
Encouraging teacher mentors:
When teachers have a question about special education, assessment, instruction or classroom management, they do not ask the principal or the central office, they ask a colleague. In Malcolm Gladwell’s terms, teacher leaders are mavens, the people to whom everyone turns when they have a question. Almost every school and system has such a maven. The problem is that they are largely unknown to the hierarchy and almost certainly not a part of it. So, the challenge for teacher leadership is to cast a wide net for the next generation of leaders, not only discovering those who call attention to themselves but also finding those many quiet teacher leaders who can serve our students and our society very well .
Above all, in developing respect and challenge in school communities, teachers must trust their colleagues and have confidence they will be supported to make the changes and improvements that are necessary .