Teachers know how to Teach
Every few years it seems that someone has a brilliant idea to change education. Right now, that brilliant idea is charter schools. Most experienced teachers recognize that these ideas come around in cycles, and they are usually repackaged versions of older ideas with a new name and minor changes.
We need to stop handicapping our educators. Every time we require a school to make changes for the “newest, greatest thing”, (which, as I said, is usually a recycled, already-failed system tried years before) we add new levels of busywork that take teachers away from students. According to the Why Teach Survey in October of 2015, teachers are most likely to leave the workforce due to ineffective leadership, high workload, and low pay. This issue is even more prevalent in high-poverty Urban schools, where high-performers leave their jobs at nearly the same rate as those who do not perform well. (The Irreplaceables: Understanding the Real Retention Crisis in America’s Urban Schools. The New Teacher Project, 2012.)
Teachers work best when they are able to build relationships with students. More interaction improves performance; adding layers of data-gathering and busywork will make our schools worse. They know how best to teach their students – it is vital that we give them the tools, and flexibility, to continue performing at the high standards we’ve come to expect.
Today is National Teacher’s Day. I just want to say to my colleagues “Keep up the good work!” I know you face more challenges (both inside and outside the classroom) than you have ever faced before. But I also know this. Teachers today are also better prepared than they have ever been and are prepared to meet those challenges and to meet the changing needs of their students.
Thank you for your service.