Supporting Teachers So They and Their Students Can Thrive

Recently in The 74, Erin Figula wrote an opinion piece detailing three ways district leaders and administrators can authentically support teachers. Excerpts of the piece appear below:

Increase Access to Meaningful Professional Learning

While 84 percent of teachers say they wish they had access to more professional development opportunities, they’re not looking for more one-time workshops or a parade of new programs. Nearly all want ongoing, relevant professional learning that will help them improve their practice and grow as classroom leaders.

In designing professional learning opportunities for teachers, it is important to create space for teachers to collaborate as they examine their practice and determine what they should learn based on their needs and interests. Personalization of professional learning requires opportunities to build relationships within and across schools, and time for practice, reflection, and coaching.

Provide Teachers With Autonomy

If we really appreciate teachers, we need to respect their role as classroom leaders. Autonomy and flexibility enable teachers to identify students’ individual needs and experiment with innovative instructional practices to meet those needs.

Teachers are energized by the knowledge that they are trusted as classroom leaders to know what’s best for their students. In fact, educators who see their school as having “much better” teacher autonomy than other schools in their county were recently found to be 23 points more likely to say they’re “very well equipped” to teach both foundational literacies and soft skills.

Guarantee Adequate Time and Resources

Supporting teachers also means giving them time to grow and collaborate, as well as the resources to put their best ideas into action. Teacher learning should be an essential part of the academic calendar and schoolwide planning, rather than work reserved for stand-alone “in-service” days. Teachers need regular opportunities to share their successes and challenges with one another and to collaborate on instructional methods.


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