Some teachers are still living in a state of top down decision making. They work in an environment where their voices are not appreciated or heard or valued. These teachers are part of a team where collaboration becomes bondage to rules and procedures and dictated discussions. Even due process is absent in some districts. Set teachers free!
It is only the beginning of the year, and I can hear the moans and groans of teachers that are in a culture and climate that does not value, support, and encourage “great” teachers and great teaching. If we want to improve the teaching profession, it is necessary to show the reality of the situation. Otherwise, change will not occur. Teachers will continue to be underappreciated and voiceless – a powerless pedagogue. Set teachers free!
Give teachers back their voice. Let them be a part of school and classroom decision making. It is the responsibility of the Building Leadership Team to represent the classroom teacher in decisions being made. The regular classroom teacher wants to be included when determining polices, schedules, curriculum and ways to instruct… Give teachers freedom!
Listen to what teachers are saying. Teachers don’t need to hear that they have it so “good”, and that administration could do even more to dictate the PD and the school day, and the number of meetings, and the lessons being taught. Teachers want administration to hear what they are saying. Please just try to listen. Set teachers free from the chains of top-down decisions.
Allow teachers some freedom in their own classrooms. Let them make some decisions concerning the students they are responsible for. They know the needs of their students; allow teachers some creativity and autonomy. Put wonder and passion back into the classroom. Freedom will allow teachers and students to soar!
Teachers realize there needs to be some consistency across the school setting. They also realize that the needs of their students may vary from the teacher next door. Teachers want collaboration with their teammates. But they also want some time to look at their own students and adjust plans to meet their individual classrooms.
This leads to the concept of collaboration. Collaboration has become meeting after meeting with planned and dictated agendas. It has become someone coming in and telling teachers how to develop focus lessons, what that focus lesson needs to be, and how everyone needs to teach it in the same way. When can a grade level team decide their own agenda? When can teachers talk about instruction besides focus lessons? When can they discuss items that may not be on the agenda, but they feel are important? When can the team help a colleague who has questions or concerns? When can they plan and prepare for their own individual classroom? Give teachers “true” collaboration and freedom to plan for their individual students!
When will teachers be free from teaching to the test? Administrators will say that teaching to the test is not happening. Teachers know the reality. Teachers want to know - How can teachers provide a learning environment that meets the needs of children and will prepare children to demonstrate their learning without teaching to the test? Interventionists teach to I-Read. English Language teachers teach to WIDA. Focus lessons are instrumental in teaching to the test.
What has happened to due process? An administrator can present a case to a committee, and the individual involved cannot even present their side. Administration can move forward with decisions without even hearing from the union or the individual. The individual basically has no representation. What in the world has happened to justice in education?
Set us free from the madness and injustice in education!