The results from the Teacher Leader survey: More questions than answers

Kapow! Data below. A few things to point out and consider:

  • Participants could choose more than one response per question.
  • Participants volunteered through social media (Facebook and Twitter), so these may be teachers who are already highly engaged in sharing professional practice, etc.
  • There were questions regarding how teacher leaders were interpreting the questions (I wish I had vetted them more).
  • The data just unearthed a lot more questions.
  • I tried to present the information objectively, but alas, I failed. I inserted a few of my reactions and emerging questions below.

Below is a piece on the Teacher Leader Model Standards from to use as your key to read the results:

The Teacher Leader Model Standards are intended to codify, promote, and support teacher leadership as a vehicle for transforming schools to meet the needs of 21st-century learners.

Rather than serve as a comprehensive job description for teacher leaders, the Standards instead describe seven domains of leadership. Each domain is further developed and supported by a list of functions that a teacher leader who is an expert in that domain might perform.

Domain I: Fostering a Collaborative Culture to Support Educator Development and Student Learning

Domain II: Accessing and Using Research to Improve Practice and Student Learning

Domain III: Promoting Professional Learning for Continuous Improvement

Domain IV: Facilitating Improvements in Instruction and Student Learning

Domain V: Promoting the Use of Assessments and Data for School and District Improvement

Domain VI: Improving Outreach and Collaboration with Families and Community

Domain VII: Advocating for Student Learning and the Profession

Drumroll, please:

When asked what domain teacher leaders felt they were “living in”:

61% said they are operating in Domain 1

57% felt they are operating in Domain 4

50% in Domain 7

49% in Domain 3

35% in Domain 2

20% in Domain 5

Only 15% felt they were living in Domain 6 (I have a lot of questions here)

When asked what domain teacher leaders felt the weakest in:

44%: Domain 6 (Does this surprise you?)

39%: Domain 5

26%: Domain 2

11%: Domain 3

10%: Domain 7

8%: Domain 1

1%: Domain 4

Next, I wanted to gauge perceptions about what domains were being utilized the most and least by the systems these teachers were working in.

What Domains do you see utilized the most in public education?

77.55%: Domain 5 (But wait, wasn’t that were these same teachers said they felt the weakest? And whoa…what a huge difference between this and the other Domains!)

22%: Domain 4 (But this is where a lot of our teachers feel the strongest!)

13%: both Domains 2 and 3

10%: Domain 1

5%: Domain 6 (This makes my heart sink! But I know schools taut doing a lot. Perhaps all the plays, muffins with mom, and graduations not seen as valuable engagement?).

Last question: What Domains do you feel are underutilized in public education?

59%: Domain 1 (This made me sad…fostering a collaborative culture?)

56%:Domain 7 (Advocating…this didn’t surprise me.)

48%: Domain 6

35%: Domain 2 (Research? This didn’t surprise me, but makes me slap my forehead. When are teachers going to be given the opportunity, space, and time to stretch our research sea legs a little better?)

32%: Domain 3

22%: Domain 4

 And yes, only 5% said Domain 5: assessments and data (Though if an alien read the headlines upon his first exposure to Earth, he would think we were obsessed).

Thanks to my colleague Dr. Amy Grillo for her help in the development of some follow-up research so we can tease out some more answers.

For now, it seems that a lot more questions have surfaced than answers. And I’d love to know…what questions do you have? What observations? Do you agree or disagree? Let’s continue the conversation below.

  • ReneeMoore

    Peeling Back the Data

    Thanks for sharing the overview of these results, Megan.

    I don’t find the results all that surprising. The first two questions, teachers are answering based on their own activity and involvement (classroom level). The last two questions they are answering based on what is being done by those making the leadership decisions at the school and district level.   For example, some teachers use collaborative practices extensively in their own room, grade level, or department, but writ large, our educational systems are still structurally resistant to combining the talents of teachers, and other educational specialists to best serve students.

    Likewise, the area in which teachers feel the strongest is the one the larger educational leadership least allows teachers put that expertise to work. These sad, but avoidable, disjunctions could be corrected if the teaching profession itself were taken more seriously and if we teachers took charge of our profession.