Center for Teaching Quality blogger Megan Allen, the 2010 Florida Teacher of the Year, is taking a position in teacher education. She is excited about her new job but, like many teachers who leave the classroom, she feels guilty, too. This doesn't seem right to her:
Why do I feel this way? After all, in the arid landscape of the teaching profession, there are few opportunities to advance without leaving the K-12 classroom. To exercise professional muscles we never knew we had. To improve education beyond our own instruction.
And too, our schools need great school leaders and administrators. We need teachers who are completely embedded in thinking about professional development or who are working as full-time mentors to ensure successful induction. And we need for the next generation of teachers to be trained by people who really know pedagogy.
The real shame, she argues, is that more districts don't offer viable career paths for expert teachers that that would allow them to "grow as leaders without distancing themselves from students." Then teachers like herself wouldn't be in the peculiar position of having to feel guilty about wanting to do more for schools.