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Universal high-quality education is one of the most important goals of education for sustainable development. Providing this requires school reform to address teacher turnover; high turnover rates affect students’ opportunities to receive a quality education (Ronfeldt, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2013). Thus, teacher job satisfaction is an important consideration for school leaders and policymakers. Dissatisfied teachers tend to leave the profession (Osborne, 2002). Even if they remain, they are less motivated, which can reduce instruction quality and ultimately student learning (Shen, Leslie, Spybrook & Ma, 2012). Hence, monitoring teachers’ satisfaction is a crucial policy issue (Ashton & Webb, 1986).
Previous studies have found sizable between-school variation, indicating that school leaders may affect teacher job satisfaction. Dou and colleagues (2016) found that principals’ leadership influences school climate, including teachers’ collaboration and participation in decision-making; this contributes to teacher job satisfaction.
Little research has explored how principals’ time use influences teacher job satisfaction. Given principals’ important role in school operations and how their time-use reflects their priorities (Hallinger & Snidvongs, 2008), it is essential to examine the relationships among principal time use, school climate, and teacher job satisfaction to fill this literature gap. Moreover, there is very little work investigating variations in these relationships internationally. Cultural and social contexts shape principals’ time-use decisions (Chan & Du, 2008) and teacher job satisfaction levels vary across countries (OCDE, 2014); thus, international variations can influence the relationship between time-use patterns and job satisfaction. The international comparisons in this study help to fill the gap in the literature, contributing in-depth understanding of how contexts moderate relationships between principal time-use types and teacher job satisfaction.
Principals have substantial influence on school climate, and thus teacher job satisfaction (Griffith, 2004). Principals can enhance school climate by promoting collaborative decision-making and facilitating improved instruction environments (Rhodes, Camic, Milbum, & Lowe, 2009).
Given their time constraints (Hallinger & Snidvongs, 2008), principals’ time-use decisions reflect their management of priorities and role expectations (Camburn, Spillane, & Sebastain, 2010). Hence, studying these time-use patterns is paramount. In the U.S., principals’ instruction-related time use varies depending on several school factors. For example, in schools with lower achievement levels and more free/reduced-price lunch students, principals were more likely to spend time on instruction-related activities (Grissom, Loeb, & Master, 2013).
The relationship between principals’ time use and teacher job satisfaction has also been examined recently. The time principals spent on both internal relations and instructional tasks is positively related to teachers’ job satisfaction levels; time spent on external relations is negatively associated with teachers' job satisfaction (Horng, Klasik, & Loeb, 2010).
Nevertheless, systematic studies classifying principals’ time-use types, rather than changes in individual tasks’ duration, are lacking, as are examinations of schools’ and principals’ background factors that relate to time-use patterns. Relationship between principals’ time-use types, teacher satisfaction, and school climate have also not yet been systematically studied.
A comparative OECD study identified variations in principals’ time-use applicable to the present study. For example, Dutch principals spent more than 50% of their time on administrative and leadership tasks, while Chilean principals used only about 30% of their time on these tasks. Also, about 90% of Malaysian principals reported frequent collaboration with teachers on discipline problems, while more than 50% of Japanese principals reported only infrequent collaborations on these matters (OCDE, 2014).
Informed by the literature discussed above, this study focuses on the following questions:
1. Measuring the time principals spend on administrative and leadership tasks, curriculum and teaching-related tasks, and interactions with various stakeholders, what are the types of principals based on time-use patterns in each country?
2. To what extent do school context and principals’ background characteristics predict principals’ time-use types in each country?
3. To what degree are types of principal time-use associated with teachers’ job satisfaction and school climate in each country?
4. How do 34 countries compare in terms of the first three research questions?
This study utilizes data from the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) of 34 countries, self-reported by lower-secondary-education teachers and principals. This data was collected via stratified two-stage probability sampling (OCDE, 2014). Through this procedure, TALIS surveyed a representative sample of principals on time use and teachers on job satisfaction, and explored school climate variables and demographic characteristics, making this the proper database for use in this study.
Latent Class Analysis
Latent Class Analysis (LCA) is a mixture model that posits there is an underlying unobserved categorical variable that divides a population into mutually exclusive and exhaustive latent classes (Collins & Lanza 2010). This study utilizes LCA to categorize principals by time use on three major tasks, thus providing additional information on subgroups’ categorization not revealed in the explicit categorical variables.
Multinomial logistic regression is a model that is used to predict the probabilities of different possible outcomes of a categorical dependent variable, given a set of independent variables. It is used to examine how much covariates from school and principal backgrounds predict latent classes (types) based on principals’ time use patterns. Additionally, multiple regression is used to examine the relationship between principal types and teacher job satisfaction.
These analyses identified interesting patterns regarding principals’ time use. In the full paper, findings from each of the 34 TALIS-participating countries are presented, and then compared across countries. For example, U.S. principals are classified into three types: Type 1, who spent most of their time on stakeholder interactions; Type 2, who allocated their time relatively evenly among all tasks; and Type 3, who spent the most time on administrative and leadership tasks. There are strong indications that both schools’ characteristics (school sector; enrollment size; and school composition, including percentage of English Learners, special needs students, and students’ economic status) and principals’ backgrounds (gender, age, education, and years as a principal) are related to the likelihood of any principal being classified as Type 1, 2, or 3, and that teachers who work with Type 3 principals have the highest job satisfaction levels, followed by Types 2 and 1.