March 2012 Archives

There is nothing more meaningful to a teacher than honest student feedback. Too often, students are reluctant to tell teachers when they are bored, frustrated, angry, or excited by their lessons. Student feedback would help all teachers be more relevant, more inclusive, and more personalized in their teaching, and, in the hands of accomplished teachers, would be a powerful addition to their repetoire of skills. Recently, I was looking at the 2011 My Voice National Student Report based on a survey created by the Pearson Foundation and the Quaglia institute for Student Aspirations. This survey was administered to 57,883 ...


Last week, I attended the International Summit on the Teaching Profession. Dr. Linda Darling- Hammond, a professor at Stanford University, was the rapporteur for the session on teacher supply and demand. She said something that caused me to sit up and pay closer attention. Dr. Darling-Hammond reported on some data around the connection between teacher preparation and retention. You may know that the average attrition rate for the teaching profession is 25%. But--and this is big--for those who completed a teacher preparation program, attrition was 15%, yet for those who did not, the attrition rate was 49%. That is significant. ...


The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher confirms what we have known for the last two years--teachers have become less satisfied with their jobs. The survey statistics indicate that job satisfaction has dropped 15 points in the past two years, and now stands at 44 percent. This is the lowest level in two decades. Who among us can blame teachers for feeling this way? They have been the target of blame, shame, and disdain by the media, politicians, and so-called education reformers. Most of these disparagers have attacked teachers and their unions without research, knowledge of teaching, or integrity. Their ...


Okay! Okay! I know teachers do not have tenure in the pure definition of guaranteed lifetime employment that was available in some higher education institutions long ago. Instead, teachers have fair employment and dismissal procedures that protect them from dismissal for arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory reasons after completing a probationary period. I have been following with interest the legislative battle in Virginia over the "tenure" issue. It has been a very partisan battle with only a few Republican senators--those with firsthand information from relatives who are teachers--refusing to go down a road that appears punitive and unnecessary in this non-collective ...


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