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PLCS- Teachers and Principals
Lindsey Springer
University of New England

PLCS- Teachers and Principals
The hierarchy within a school system, and/or building can sometimes cause confusion
about roles and responsibilities. From the national level to the state level, there are multiple
leaders in education. However, even within each particular school building, there are multiple
leaders as well. It is often assumed that the leader of a building is the principal. According to
Dufour, Dufour, & Eaker, 2008), it takes more than just an administrator to create an effective
PLC. Rather, it takes an entire community of teachers, parents, administrators, and students.
The role of each individual is equally important in establishing a successful PLC. The role of a
teacher and a principal in the school should be that of a collaborative one in order to help achieve
the same mission of student success.
Referring back to the article Growing Teacher Leaders in a Culture of Excellence
(Searby and Shaddix, 2008), a paradigm shift is necessary in order to expand the role of
leadership among teachers in a school culture. It is true that often times people are resistant to
change. However, understanding the goals and purpose of these needed changes is critical to
ensure effective transitions of these changes. Continuity across the board is significant in
establishing this shift. Although teachers are considered leaders among their students, it is
important that the paradigm shift occur among colleagues as well. This includes administrators.
Teachers lead within their own classrooms, but it is important to teach them to lead in
other areas such as within their department, across the school, and beyond the school (Danielson,
2007). Within the classroom, teachers build rapport, trust, and confidence with and among
students. A teacher is considered an expert, and therefore exemplary teachers exhibit the
qualities of an effective leader with the proper training. In order to create a successful PLC
within a classroom, teachers along with their students need to collaboratively create a set of
norms instead of rules. In doing so, this helps to create a collaborative commitment within the
PLCS- Teachers and Principals
classroom allowing the students to buy into the classroom learning experience as a whole as
well as to promote positive relationships, academic success, and a sense of community (Dufour,
Dufour, & Eaker, 2008). It is also important that teachers model positive and relative behaviors
in order to sustain the norms within the classroom.
The role of the principal should also reflect a collaborative effort. The responsibilities
both academically and politically are abound within the administration field. To ensure effective
leadership, administrators should be a leader of leaders. By delineating roles among qualified
staff members including teachers, the goal of a PLC is more direct in helping to achieve all
around success. According to McLaughlin & Talbert, 2006 administrators are the leaders who
set the stage and conditions for starting and sustaining the community development process.
Teachers and administrators should be partners in helping to create a school climate that is a
continued PLC. Before this can occur, it is critical that administrators begin by defining their key
or primary responsibility. By defining this clearly for not only themselves but to the teachers and
other staff in the building, the rest of the steps necessary to create an effective PLC will follow.
The school where I teach is most certainly a PLC. The leadership roles are dispersed
throughout the building. Because we are such a large school, we have three assistant
administrators to help foster the success of the students and school as a whole. The
administration is usually receptive to new ideas and suggestions from teachers in order to ensure
the safety and academic success of the students as well as the safety and professional growth of
the teachers. In order to be more effective, I think the principal in our building needs to start with
the first key idea stated by Dufor, Dufour, & Eaker, that principals, staff and students alike
would benefit from remembering their primary responsibility. Remembering the main task and
not muddling it helps everyone stay focused on the same mission and vision.
PLCS- Teachers and Principals

Danielson, C. (2007). The many faces of leadership. Educational Leadership, 65(1), 14-19.
DuFour, R., DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. (2008). Revisiting professional learning communities at
work: New insights for improving schools. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.
McLaughlin, M., & Talbert, J. (2006). Building school-based teacher learning communities:
Professional strategies to improve student achievement. New York: Teachers College
Searby, L., & Shaddix, L. (2008). Growing teacher leaders in a culture of excellence.
The Professional Educator, 32(1).