What Teachers Would Change About Education
It’s no secret that public education in America is not a perfect system, and many teachers are advocating for widespread change. Teachers, more than any other school-related personnel, understand what needs to be changed because they face these issues in the classroom every day. A recent Educators for Excellence survey asked 1,000 full-time public school teachers what they would change about education, and here are their responses:
What teachers would change about education:
- More opportunities to make large-scale decisions
Overwhelmingly, teachers agreed that what they would most like to change about education is their ability to influence large-scale decisions such as policy changes at the state level or district changes made by administrators. Teachers are the ones feeling the effects of such changes most heavily, yet they are often the last to influence such decisions.
Teachers know what their students need, and it’s often hard for teachers to accept that these large-scale, significant decisions are being made by people who have never been in a classroom or who have been out of the classroom for 10 years or more.
- More opportunities for leadership and career growth while staying in the classroom
In education, it’s understood that if you want to advance your career, you’ll probably need to move on from the classroom and become an administrator instead of a teacher. However, some teachers want to grow and advance their careers but do not want to leave the classroom. Teachers in the survey wanted more opportunities for leadership while remaining in the classroom.
- More time to focus on the things that matter
Teachers also agreed that they want more time to focus on the things that matter. This doesn’t necessarily mean lengthening the school day. Rather, teachers wanted to use the time they already have more wisely.
Often, a teacher’s planning period is taken up by administrative meetings, paperwork, or other things that don’t directly impact the students in the classroom. Teachers are then left to do the bulk of the heavy lifting- grading, lesson planning, etc. – at home, resulting in quick teacher burnout and turnover rates.
Teachers would rather have their planning time treated as sacred so that they can use it to actually plan, to focus on differentiating their instruction, and to think about engaging questions they will weave into their lesson plans.
- More flexibility in the classroom
Teachers also desire more flexibility in the classroom. Even veteran teachers with years of experience are often told exactly how they should do certain things, which leaves little room for flexibility and trying out new tactics.
This desire for flexibility also pours over into the curriculum. Teachers want the curriculum to be less focused on passing certain exams and more focused on feeding curiosity and a love for learning. Teachers would rather teach their students how to think than what to think.
Teaching is not an easy profession, and the condition of America’s public education system isn’t making the job any easier. Teachers all over America are advocating for these changes, but it is unknown how long they will be left waiting until these changes are a reality.