Factors that influence teachers not to pursue leadership roles within a private language school
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Educational organizations need highly qualified leaders who have a great impact on improving teaching and learning and the success of schools. However, leadership roles, particularly principal roles seem to be less attractive for many teachers. This research project aims to explore leadership supply issues within a private language school in a city of northeast China. This qualitative research investigates how team leaders and teachers perceive leaders and leadership roles and also critically examines the factors which influence teachers not to pursue leadership roles in the private language school. In order to understand their perspectives and experiences, semi-structured interviews with five participants were used to collect data. In addition to this, the job description for the principal’s role was collected and analyzed as a complement to interviews. The findings showed that although participants considered being principals as an opportunity to gain more experience and improve themselves, these benefits were not always appealing. Concerns about lack of capabilities is one of the factors affecting teachers’ willingness to become principals. Insufficient support from superiors and colleagues may be an inhibitor for team leaders to pursue principal roles as well. Another factor is that the increasing responsibility is not proportional to the gain. For those teachers whose personal work values are in conflict with organizational values, leadership roles seem to be undesirable. Last but not least, worries about losing contact with teaching and students is a reason restraining teachers from applying for principal positions. The findings suggest that the school needs to improve potential candidates’ capabilities; teachers who intend to enter principal positions also need to study independently to be capable. Apart from this, more job-related support should be provided for new leaders. Moreover, the school is suggested to reexamine principal roles and design other suitable pathways to attract further excellent teachers to fulfill the role of leadership.