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Strengths and Weaknesses 1

Strengths and Weaknesses: Using the Teacher Leader Domains to Self-Evaluate

Nathan L. Tamborello

The University of Houston


Strengths and Weaknesses 2

As I began to sit and answer the reflective questions for this week, I was faced with a sort

of paradox and found it difficult to relate myself to the model standards for teacher leaders. I’ve

never been a teacher; how can I be a teacher leader? I’ve never been in a classroom besides being

either a student myself or simply as a substitute; how do I know if my future self will employ

this stratagem? Instead, I chose to parallel these standards to my work life currently: how do I

excel at this skill subset or how do I fail at another at my everyday job? The comparison isn’t

perfectly relatable, but I believe that most of these skills are basic structures, and only need slight

modification to be relevant in the classroom setting. Therefore, through the use of reflection on

my own school days and on my current performance in the workforce, I was able to analyze,

reflect, and think about how to shape these standards in the future, so that I may be a better

teacher and a better teacher leader.

Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom & Anderson discuss how teachers and great teacher leaders

essentially have two core functions: to provide direction and to exercise influence. (2010, pg. 9)

In order to carry out these two functions, teachers act as a proponent of both stability and change.

While on paper stability and change serve to be dichotomies of each other, in the classroom they

serve a more complimentary relationship. Teachers must provide stability to their students

through instruction, but also be an agent of change. Learning and the learning process is

constantly in a state of flux, and if stagnation occurs for too long, old methods will be outdated

and may no longer be beneficial to the student. Domain II of the Teacher Leader Model

Standards reflects this idea of change at its core, stating, “[t]he teacher leader understands how

research creates new knowledge, informs policies and practices, and improves teaching and

learning.” (pg.2) I feel that Domain II is my personal area of strength. I am constantly changing

not only the way my co-workers and I approach jobs, but also changing the very nature of the job
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itself. For example, as a project estimator for commercial construction, the normal process in

estimating a job is to print out a set of about 100 pages of 30 X 42 paper. Realizing that this was

a horribly outdated, inefficient, and costly way to estimate, I set out to find an alternative. I

researched for weeks on various components of differing software. I put a presentation together

and invited my boss and our employees to learn about the software I had chosen and to test it out.

4 years later, our company no longer prints plans except for field sets. We save thousands of

dollars per month in paper costs, and have very limited errors on our take-offs due to the built-in

software corrections. Not only do we save money on man hours waiting for 100 pages of paper

to print, but the process is more streamlined, more efficient, and slowly bringing the company

into the digital age. This type of research-driven change is not only vital to the construction

field, but also vital to education. Changing outdated techniques for easier, more efficient ways of

educating isn’t lazy like most older generations claim of millennials: it’s smart.

As I referenced earlier, I am new to the field of education, which also means that I’m new

to educational policy making. Domain VII of the Teacher Leader Model Standards is all about

educational policy awareness, including local, state, and federal. “The teacher leader

understands how policy is made…as well as the roles of school leaders, boards of education,

legislators, and other stakeholders in formulating those policies.” (pg. 20) This domain is

probably one of the ones that needs the most work, as I am woefully ignorant of educational

policy-making. However, I will say that since I have started my Master’s program, I have been

following this new presidential administration closely, including the seemingly detrimental

decision of confirming Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Since then, I feel like I have

become not only intrinsically more aware of the federal role in education, but also how it trickles

down to the states. I still remain uneducated about how the district and state policy is formed,
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and have almost no working knowledge on the people who form that policy. Through my years

working up to my teacher’s certification, I hope to change my lack of knowledge. Understanding

how policy is made and more importantly, how it affects you and your classroom, is one of the

more important skills a teacher leader should have.

Of course, this reflective paper is only conjecture. I can write about how I will be, or who

I will be, or what I will do, but ultimately, it’s up to me to ensure that I follow my own set of

strict principals and standards, and try to uphold these common model standards. Through my

own education, research, methodology, and teaching style, I aspire to be a great teacher leader

within my school and district. But first things first: I have to become a teacher.
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REFERENCES

Teacher Leader Model Standards: Teacher Leadership Exploratory Consortium. (2012).

Wahlstrom, K. L., Louis, K. S., Leithwood, K. A., & Anderson, S. E. (2010). Learning from

leadership: investigating the links to improved student learning. The University

of Minnesota.