Jobs Icon Jobs Icon Jobs Tefl Icon Tefl Icon TEFL Tcp Icon Tcp Icon Teacher Certification Hire Teachers Icon Hire Teachers Icon Hire Teachers
teachers who are successful leaders

The transition from great teacher to effective leader remains a critical challenge in education. 

Many exceptional educators find themselves struggling to adapt their classroom expertise to leadership roles, often facing a steep learning curve in management, strategic planning, and organizational development. 

According to recent research and insights from experienced professionals, great teachers can successfully navigate the path to becoming outstanding leaders.

Bridging the Gap for a Teacher-Leader Transition

According to international leaders at a recent ISN live, 78% of school principals report that their leadership training did not adequately prepare them for the realities of the job. 

A study by the Wallace Foundation also found that many school principals feel underprepared for their leadership roles, with a significant number reporting that their training did not adequately prepare them either. 

This highlights the substantial gap between teaching excellence and leadership readiness.

To address this issue, aspiring leaders should focus on developing key competencies that extend beyond classroom management:

Cultivate a Growth Mindset for Leadership

Great teachers often possess a growth mindset for their students, but applying this concept to their own leadership development is crucial. 

Embracing challenges, seeking feedback, and viewing setbacks as opportunities for growth are essential traits for emerging leaders.

Developing Systems Thinking

While teachers excel at understanding individual student needs, leaders must grasp the complexities of entire school systems. 

Systems scientist Peter Senge’s work on learning organizations emphasizes the importance of systems thinking for leaders, highlighting the interconnectedness of complex systems like educational institutions. 

His approach encourages viewing challenges holistically rather than in isolation, urging aspiring leaders to consider multiple perspectives and the long-term implications of their decisions. 

By adopting these principles, teachers can develop the broader perspective and adaptive skills necessary for effective leadership.

Mastering Emotional Intelligence

Studies have shown that leaders with strong emotional intelligence are more effective at engaging and motivating their teams. 

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a critical yet often overlooked aspect of leadership development. 

Teachers transitioning to leadership roles must expand their EQ beyond the classroom, learning to navigate complex interpersonal dynamics among staff, parents, and community stakeholders. 

Embracing Data-Driven Decision Making

While teachers use data to inform instruction, leaders must leverage data for strategic planning and resource allocation. 

Developing proficiency in data analysis and interpretation is crucial for aspiring leaders. 

Schools led by data-savvy principals show a higher rate of improvement in student achievement compared to those without such leadership.

Cultivating a Global Perspective

In the context of international education, developing a global perspective is paramount. 

Aspiring leaders should actively seek opportunities to engage with diverse cultures, educational systems, and global educational trends. 

Leaders with strong intercultural competence are more likely to successfully implement inclusive policies and practices in their schools.

By focusing on these often-overlooked aspects of leadership development, great teachers can more effectively bridge the gap to becoming exceptional leaders in the international school context. As the education landscape continues to evolve, nurturing these skills will be crucial for creating innovative, inclusive, and high-performing learning environments worldwide.

Download The International Education Recruitment Report

Developing great teachers into great leaders is one way to support your teacher retention strategies. Learn more by downloading the International Education Recruitment Report 2024.

Download the International Education Recruitment Report 2024