Imagine schools without teachers. Are we headed there? There sure are a lot of efforts to get rid of teachers. DC is just one example- and even with the support of teacher unions.
As in any profession, there are those who are ineffective and in “teacherland” that translates lately to students’ test scores. But what would happen if we reversed the psychology and actually said to teachers:
WE CARE ABOUT YOU BECAUSE YOU MATTER TO OUR WORLD.
WE APPRECIATE WHAT YOU DO FOR STUDENTS EVERYDAY.
WE WANT TO SUPPORT YOUR PERSONAL EFFORTS TO IMPROVE YOUR PRACTICE SO YOU IN TURN CAN IMPACT STUDENTS’ LEARNING.
Why should students invest 50K to become a teacher, with few teaching positions available, and then be scrutinized and subjected to a narrow scope of outside assessment? Standards do matter and so do teachers.
There has little conversation about how teachers are motivated to improve their own practice. They are after all the direct players; the ones we all want to be “highly qualified”; the ones who are held responsible for improving students’ learning and enacting a flood of standards. How are teachers encouraged to improve the quality of their teaching?
Is it by the use of incentives like merit pay, a tier professional pay scale, or a “race to the top” by school? Is it by punishments with hordes of teachers being dismissed from their school? The current approach for motivating teachers does not appear to working and some might even just suggest we break the mold.
Despite teachers’ frustrations with the educational system and perhaps the system with them, the one thing teachers know they can change is themselves.
What might happen if we ask teachers to choose to study their own reform effort with school colleagues in order to improve students’ learning?
Revolutionary? You betcha! Students and teachers deserve better than our current approach.