Do you want to make a difference in schools? Are you looking for ways to get involved in developing, sharing and implementing curricula in today's classrooms? If you consider yourself a natural leader or are open to refining your leadership traits, you may have what it takes to be a teacher leader.
What Is a Teacher Leader?
Anyone who takes on additional duties in the school system beyond their instructional role may be considered a "teacher leader." In this role, your mission will include helping schools to be their best. From bringing staff on board with new initiatives to defining goals and monitoring progress toward stated improvement processes, this profession adapts to the needs of today's students.
Teacher leaders are equipped to nurture and sustain school curricula and instructional challenges in light of the current political, cultural, economic and racial climate. The title for a teacher leader role may vary by school, as not every system uses the same language to describe these positions. Also, teacher leaders may not always have separate, formal roles and may choose to use their expertise to coach peers, add support to curriculum development or serve on boards or committees in a volunteer capacity.
Benefits of an MA in Curriculum and Instruction
As a graduate of the program, you will be better prepared to contribute strong leadership qualities to the modern classroom. An M.A. program will not only help you create a teaching portfolio, but it will also strengthen your skills to assess other educators and their programs, influence instructional design changes and seek out opportunities to further develop your own and others' teaching skills. After receiving your M.A., it's also possible that you will earn more than your peers who lack advanced degrees.
Many M.A. programs are on par with similar National Board programs and provide students with access to a network of education professionals – both in the classroom and beyond.
Sample MA in Curriculum and Instruction Classes
You will experience a wide variety of classroom instruction styles, from participating in discussions around theory to putting what you learn into practice. Here are three classes students in the program have enjoyed:
Technology and Student-Centered Learning: This three-credit course helps teachers plan for the technology-enhanced classroom of the student-centered school. In addition to classroom work that introduces you to the theory, philosophy and history of student-centered learning, you'll participate in a real-world field exercise to compare the strategies of technology integration learned in the classroom.
Differentiation in the Classroom: The mixed-ability classroom is common. This three-credit course prepares teachers to differentiate between available curricula and make selections so that every student's needs are met.
Creating Culturally Responsive Classrooms: Today's students should feel safe, affirmed and nurtured, regardless of their cultural backgrounds and needs. This three-credit course helps teachers develop the competence and skills to provide the best outcomes in multicultural learning environments.
How Can I Start?
The admission requirements for this 100% online program include:
- A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
- An undergrad GPA of 2.7 or higher
- Official transcripts from previous institutions
- An application
- The payment of an application fee
You'll also need to set aside at least 18 months for program completion. This program requires 30 credit hours of classwork.
Your Future With a Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction – Leadership
Outcomes and goals are useful in defining the skills you can expect to gain from your time in the program. What does this look like in the real world? This master's program is highly relevant in today's fast-evolving educational landscape, but a few of the careers you can pursue after graduation include instructional coordinator, academic coach and curriculum leader.
While the degree program is designed for K-12 and secondary student classrooms, program participants can go on to any environment that values leadership in their curriculum development and processes; this includes corporate or nonprofit settings and local school policy appointments, such as the school or curriculum board.
Schools need leaders more than ever before. If you've felt that you were destined to do more in the learning community, an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction program may be for you.
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