One consistent point over the last five years is that the voices of teachers haven’t been valued in conversations about educational equity, improving schools, and fixing the issues of public education.
Why aren’t educational institutions and school leaders fully utilizing the gifts of teachers?
We fail to realize that teachers are gifted in areas outside of the art of teaching. Our wisdom and insight on the impact (negative and positive) of programs, initiatives, researched based practices, and resources to enhance academic and social development can help school districts better utilize data, funding, and talent.
A common joke and complaint about public schools’ support of teachers are most evident with professional development days. The training and paperwork accompanied with many of the new initiatives school district leaders push down on teachers isn’t helpful to the reduction of unnecessary tasks, and it takes away from teaching and learning.
Public schools often miss out on the gifts and talents of teachers due to the lack of flexibility for them to utilize them within their classrooms.
Teachers can improve educational outcomes.
Teachers can improve the educational outcome of students but public schools have to be willing to let teachers lead. I believe we start by changing the narrative and notion that teachers are only leaders when they leave the classroom.
Let me be frank. If you’ve never taught as a classroom teacher, then you don’t know you have the leadership skills needed to manage children while educating them.
Being in my 17th year of education, I know that teachers bring more to the table than just holding children inside a classroom all day.
Teachers are advocating for reduced class sizes to help keep students safe!
Overcrowded classrooms and teacher work loads is a huge selling point of charter schools over traditional public schools for parents and teachers. The budgets for schools are continuously cut by the same elected officials who don’t have a problem with adding money for more police in schools and communities while children are sitting in crowded classrooms.
In some of these schools, there are classrooms with 27-30 desks and water foundations that don’t work or are new but the water comes through old piping. This means the water could be contaminated.
As a special education teacher, I know firsthand that the day to day support for us is not there. Schools are not even getting implementation and regulations of IEPs (Individualized Educational Plans) for children with exceptionalities correct! This was before COVID19.
We can improve public education by focusing on how we are teaching children to learn. Right now, we are having debates in opposition to teaching children what we want them to know.
Teachers are just essential workers; we are essential to how education is transformed.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.