GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Teacher leadership

Jacklyn Rennie looks beyond management roles, to become a leader of learning.

My journey into teacher leadership has been an incredibly significant aspect of my professional learning. After being in the classroom for a number of years I decided to explore leadership. I sought and completed courses to inform my practice and develop skills as a middle leader/principal teacher. Through these experiences I realised that although I have good leadership skills, I did not want to be a manager. Therefore, I wanted to explore teacher leadership where I can devote my energy to leading the learning in my classroom where I can make the greatest difference to children and young people.

With the launch of the national model for professional learning, I felt a new sense of empowerment and hope in being granted the autonomy to lead learning through research in ways that will help my young people and align with my professional values, as outlined in the GTC Scotland Professional Standards. I successfully completed the Education Scotland Teacher Leadership programme, which initially began with an inquiry into increasing learner metacognition through low stakes assessment. The programme helped me to look more critically at my leadership style and how I lead the learning of others. I am proud to have completed this programme of study and enjoyed sharing my journey at the Teacher Leadership Learning Summit.

Throughout my experience I have developed leadership skills to lead the learning of myself and my colleagues, including the following from the Standard for Career-long Professional Learning:

  •  Pedagogy, learning and teaching;
  •  Enquiry;
  •  Learning for sustainability;
  •  Showing sustained commitment.

Through this professional learning, I realised that it is the wealth of knowledge and practice I have amassed which makes me a true leader of learning. The principles of self-efficacy and the “belief that I can make a difference [and] have an impact” (Hargreaves, 2018) is intrinsic and deeply rooted in my values and actions as a teacher.

However, to better understand how to critically reflect, I turned to Loughran (2002) who made me question how learners reflect and reaffirms the importance of reflecting on learning as equally important for teachers and young people alike. I will continue to seek opportunities for developed leadership in my professional and personal life and continue to build my skills as a leader of learning.

Jacklyn Rennie is a geography teacher in West Calder High School, West Lothian. Find her on Twitter @geographyjacks

  • Hargreaves, A (2018). Collaborative Professionalism: When Teaching Together Means Learning for All. Corwin.
  • Loughran, J. (2002). Effective Reflective Practice. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(1), pp.33-43.