If we treated any other professionals the way we do teachers, they'd riot in the streets.
It seems like the less experience a person has in the classroom, the more ideas they have on how to improve teaching. Teachers are increasingly controlled in how they spend their classroom time. Paperwork piles up.Here's a new idea: Let them be brilliant.
The education industry is constantly trying to sell ways to improve education. Self-directed learning apps! Standardized tests! Smartboards! State-of-the-art school buildings!
Enthusiasm for this kind of flashy fix often just makes things worse.
Don't get me wrong. I love the smell of a freshly painted hallway as much as the next person. But these salespeople are missing one major, MAJOR thing.
The single most-important determiner of educational quality is the quality of the teacher in the classroom.
Children who spend all day with the best teachers learn at twice the rate of the average. The difference between an OK teacher and an amazing teacher is huge, and the impact is long-lasting.
Teacher burnout is super high. In the U.S., 40-50% of new teachers leave the profession within their first five years.
The obvious question is where do we find the best teachers? How do we make the teachers we have better?
It's time to treat them the way we treat other college-educated professionals. Pay them well. Trust them to do their jobs well. Offer them opportunities for collaboration. Reward their creativity instead of punishing it. Give them the chance to design their own solutions to their students' stumbling blocks.
I'd rather my kids were in a classroom with a happy, inspired, and empowered leader than a grouchy, burned-out one. Wouldn't you?