The term teacher leader refers to educators who have experience teaching in classroom settings and expertise in instruction and leading peers. The primary job of a teacher leader is to coach, mentor, and improve other teachers – usually their peers within the same school – on various aspects of instructional practice, from pedagogy to unit planning to understanding student data. Due to the variation in teacher leaders’ roles and responsibilities, job titles and job descriptions can differ substantially; on paper, teacher leaders may be called instructional coaches, literacy specialists, teachers on special assignment (TOSAs), or data coaches, among other titles. Across the Center’s 35 focus group participants in our 2017 research cycle, teacher leader was the most frequently listed job title for these individuals. Read on for more facts about our 2017 sample.
Teacher leaders work with all grade levels and in all school types.
- 17 of our teacher leaders come from elementary schools, 12 from middle or junior high schools, and 10 from high schools (4 are double counted due to their work with multiple grade levels)
- Together, they have an average 8 years of experience in their current roles as teacher leaders
Teacher leaders often coach teachers to work with specific student populations.
- 16 coach teachers to work with English learners
- 10 focus on students with disabilities
- 6 focus on gifted and talented students
Teacher leaders frequently work with teachers across different subjects and content areas.
- 22 out of 35 teacher leaders work with teachers in multiple content areas
- 26 stated they focus on ELA/ELD, 23 on math, 22 on science, 12 on history, and 9 on technology
Want to learn more about teacher leaders in California? Read this 2018 CenterView publication from the Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning: Teacher Leadership Works – It Builds, Energizes, Sustains