There are many job opportunities within the education sector, and, as it is integral to society, this is what makes it such an interesting field to pursue a career in. It’s not just about becoming a teacher or a professor but rather about looking at how the entire structure of the education system is developed and put into practice at all levels. Being an educational leader is a brilliant opportunity to make real change and to make sure that everyone has access to quality learning resources and support. You may already be working as a teacher or professor, or are considering starting your career in education with interest in working towards one of these leadership roles. If so, there are a few factors you will need to keep in mind to get there.
If you are looking to get into teaching at an entry-level, first you will have to achieve a college education in a relevant subject. For example, if you want to teach biology, you will need to enroll in a biological science course. There are plenty of learning options available to achieve your undergraduate degree, both traditional routes like attending college and online options. If you are already an established teacher but are looking to further your career by getting into a leadership role, look into EdD organizational leadership programs. You will need a Master’s degree to qualify; therefore, you should take that step first if you haven’t already achieved that level of education.
Experience is essential to the progression of any career. You will need to have worked within the education sector for several years before you can move onto these leadership roles. This is to make sure that you have a well-rounded view of how things work and a better understanding of the problems the education system in your own place of work and beyond is facing. You will learn a lot from your academic studies, too, but putting your learning into practice will give you invaluable knowledge you will only be able to get through work experience. You should also put yourself forward for a head of department job when it becomes available, or other roles that have more responsibility.
Take the time to do additional research about other training and educational programs available to you to help your pursuit of a leadership role. Additionally, you should be researching other innovations within the education sector and look toward current leaders who are making a difference. Learn from their example and think about how you could help to move their progress forward. Are there things you have experienced as an educator that you feel need work? Is there a particular area you’re concerned about when it comes to accessibility for students or a lack of support for educators? Start to think about the changes you would like to see and research what you can do to make a difference.
As a leader, you can’t sit back and fade into the background. You must lead the discussions and be a champion for education and supporting staff and students. With this in mind, if you’re looking to progress into one of these roles, you need to show that you’re capable of being active and involved. Find out about extra-curricular programs you can help out with, or create one yourself. You might even want to think about reaching out to the wider community and think about how your school or college can get involved with their initiatives. Not only will you make some good connections, but you will be proving that you’re capable of taking on challenges and managing teams.
As mentioned above, leading discussions and working with a variety of people is part of being an educational leader. This will require confidence. It is important you believe in your capabilities; otherwise, other people might struggle to do so. Educators, parents, students, and others will be looking to you for guidance and information. You must be able to communicate that to them and show them that you’re confident in what you’re saying. If you’re struggling with self-confidence but still want to pursue your career in leadership, start working on your self-esteem to help overcome this hurdle.
No one can be an effective leader if they can’t actively listen. Faculty members will be turning to you to share their concerns and ideas, and it will be you who will be required to respond appropriately and help to answer any questions they may have. The same goes for parents and students. As an educational leader, you must listen carefully to all of these concerns and help to implement a plan to resolve any issues that both staff and students might have.
Be Resourceful and Flexible
As a leader, there will be times when you will have to go the extra mile to achieve certain goals and help others. It is highly likely that to do this, you will have to work overtime to get the job done. Although you should make sure you’re not overworked, part of being a leader is being flexible with your time and offering that additional support to your team. You will also need to consider the needs of your team and make sure that everyone is fairly balanced. Being resourceful is also an important quality in a leader. Don’t assume that you will be able to access funding, staff, and other useful tools easily. It’s highly likely that you will always need to present an argument to school boards and other governing bodies to access these resources. Be prepared to think outside the box to receive the right tools and resources you will need to achieve your goals.
Leading a team in any industry requires resilience, confidence, and ambition. As an educational leader, you will be responsible for student and faculty welfare, shaping a curriculum, and making sure your school is a leader in education. If you think you have what it takes, consider these suggestions and tips to help advance your career and move into an educational leadership role.