Bernard Pierorazio

Leader, Educator, Activist

Tag: educational leadership

Leadership in the Classroom


With many educators hitting the halfway point of their summer break, it is imperative that first-year teachers and veteran educators reflect and internalize the importance of strong leadership within the classroom. When we talk about leadership, especially within the education sector, it is vital that teachers understand the need to cultivate and manage the social-emotional support and academic development on a day-to-day basis. Let’s put it in this perspective; strong and effective classes can only be achieved if there is a high level of respect and responsibility between the teacher and the student. For this to happen, various teaching methods and skills will be needed in order to demonstrate an overall ethic of care. Once that mentality is established, a teacher will be able to motivate and inspire their students for that necessary academic success within their educational careers.

So what defines leadership within the classroom? What embodies educational leadership?

In many ways, the definition is simple. What defines and embodies leadership within a school is the ability to create action. For any group to be successful, even outside of the education world, both inspirational leadership and group management will be necessary in order to create the necessary action for movement. In the classroom, a teacher will hold a plethora of responsibilities. Of these responsibilities, they need to understand the underlying goal of developing their students to learn, grow, and act as their own leaders within their community. To establish that presence, an educator needs to refine and perfect his or her own skills within the classroom. For first year teachers, this task may be difficult because of the lack of experience. But to understand core specific skills such as communication and management, you will be able to cultivate your classrooms into entities of change.

To start, every teacher needs to establish a strong foundation for communication. In the grand scheme of things, communication is the first step building your classrooms. From your rules to your homework worksheets, you want to make sure you students have a crystal clear understanding of what you want them to accomplish. Because of this, you want to make sure any and all ideas, especially your lesson plans, are explicit and unambiguous. Having that level of communication and language will allow your students to understand the various messages, verbal and nonverbal interactions, and ideas that you are trying to communicate with them during the operations within the class.

To help you with this, make sure you students understand his or her personal goals. The idea of providing your students a sense of purpose and responsibility will give them value to their work. In addition, it will also give value to your overall lessons. Having these goals such as hitting 80% on the test or 90% or higher on an exit ticket for a particular lesson will help inspire action for your students as well as motivational growth within your classrooms.

Now, one of the most important factors of being a teacher is building and maintaining trust with your students. Like it or not, this relationship will be one of the most pinnacle factors in how your students will work in your class. To do this, continue to establish that level of communication. Show them that you are their support system. Provide them that help when they needed. But most importantly, listen to them when they want to be heard. We have heard this so many times. A teacher is not simply a teacher. They are a mentor, a coach, a parent, and a role model to their students. Once you have established that relationship, there is nothing that can stop you from pushing and driving your students to their best.

Last but not least, understand that you are the teacher within the classroom. As much as you want to let your kids be kids, you need to understand that it will be your job to manage conflict. In reality, conflict is simply inevitable. The one thing that you can do is to learn how to manage these controversies in a positive and constructive manner. Be sure to approach each controversial situation in a holistic manner. Listen to each point of view and recognize the different ideas and viewpoints that come your way. Once that is all said and done, it will be your job to find a solution that works for the betterment of the class. One of the biggest challenges every teacher will have will always be classroom management. By controlling the situation, especially in this manner, you will be able to provide your students with the authoritative support they need to move on and grow as future scholars.

Summer Reading for Teachers: Four Educational Leadership Books


Anyone who says teachers have the summers off has probably never met a teacher. With the two and a half months of summer break, many educators usually spend this time cultivating their profession through graduate schoolwork, lesson plan and curriculum design preps, professional development seminars, and, of course professional development and educational leadership reading.

For the summer time, these months provide educators with the much-needed free time to recharge their batteries and practice, inform, and enlighten their spirit for the education sector. To help with this, I have highlighted four incredible educational leadership books that you should read over the summer. These books will provide you with the necessary education pedagogies and educational leadership tactics that you can utilize and implement into your classroom for next year. Remember, education is a constant and ever-evolving entity. In order to provide your scholars with the best set of education, you as a professional need to invest and learn in acquiring the best practices and approaches that can shape your classes for the better.

Transformational Leadership by Gary Vurnum

In Gary Vurnum’s book, Transformational Leadership, Gary uncovers ninety-two tips in developing your leadership strengths in an easily digestible format. This comprehensive read talks about different leadership traits that a person can possess and develop each and everyday and how to apply them throughout a multitude of scenarios. By learning and recognizing these different traits, you will be able to apply specific tactics, especially with your students, in a more transformative and effective way. This, in turn, will allow you to increase motivation and morale while also enhancing your own personal awareness to any mistakes and flaws preventing you from success.

Educational Leadership: A Bridge to Improved Practice by William G. Cunningham and Paula A. Corderio

Educational Leadership describes how successful and effective schools and administrators operate in an increasingly challenging and fast-pace academic environment. In this text, Cunningham and Corderio discuss various leadership theories and best practices that are implemented in the present conditions and operations within American schools. For education, teachers are constantly demanded to know and perfect the concept of leadership and management on a daily basis. But for many novice, and even veteran teachers, this skill can be hard to develop, especially without the knowledge or practice to do so. For Cunningham and Corderio, they provide an overall crash course on leadership theory, school management, community relations, and instructional and curriculum leadership.  

Cultivating Leadership in Schools: Connecting People, Purpose, & Practice by Gordon A. Donaldson, Jr.

Gordon Donaldson provides his readers with excellent tips and practical models for teachers, principals, and school teams to utilize within their schools. He establishes the idea of culture and shared-leadership amongst teachers and school administrators and gives various insights into how school-leaders can better internalize and execute at their jobs more effectively with strong and purposeful management. But what makes this book a truly impactful read are the tangible model-based tactics that can be implemented within the realities of a school and its overall school culture. This book is, of course, realistic about the ups-and-downs and frustrations with the job, but still provides helpful tips in how to overcome these obstacles in the most effective and efficient way possible.

Teaching As Leadership: The Highly Effective Teacher’s Guide to Closing the Achievement Gap by Steven Farr

Steven Farr and Teach For America share what the organization has learned about effective teachers over the last twenty years in their work to close the academic achievement gap in under-privileged and under-resourced areas in the United States. The book includes a framework that explains the traits of some of the most effective and successful Teach For America corps members and breaks down leadership into six different principles:

  1. Set Ambitious Goals for Student Achievement
  2. Invest Students and Families in Working Hard to Achieve the Goals
  3. Purposeful planning to Achieve the Vision of Student Success
  4. Execute Plans with Judgment and Adjustments
  5. Continuously Increase Effectiveness to Accelerate Student Learning
  6. Work Relentlessly to Navigate Challenges

Much of these principles highlight the daunting battle many Teach For America Corps members undergo every day. With these principles, young educators are able to implement the best approaches in giving their students an excellent set of tools to complement their education.

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