Gordon Correll: Teachers’ opinions should count
By Gordon Correll
Special to the Salisbury Post
What can we do that will allow teachers to feel as if they are treated as professionals? Do we attend a conference and come back and institute changes without discussions that involve the district’s teachers? I hope not.
One size does not fit all in education. States are unique, districts are unique and schools are unique. Conferences are good in order to stimulate the brain, but change needs to begin with discussion among the professionals in the district.
Have your teachers discuss and agree on some changes that will make them feel as though they are true professionals. Then discuss these recommendations with administrators and get their opinions as well.
When I was a teacher, I would have mentioned the following things that could have made me feel as though the district treated me as a professional:
1. Pay me a living wage.
2. Tell me what I am held accountable for doing, and allow me to do it. Don’t tell me I have to use a particular style of teaching and have to teach a particular topic at a particular time.
3. Give me the opportunity to observe the effective teachers in the school while they are teaching, and allow them to observe me teaching if I so choose.
4. Allow me to communicate with my students’ parents rather than have me attend a meeting at night.
5. Give me a safe, clean and comfortable environment in which to teach.
6. Give me a budget for purchasing supplies, and allow me to purchase what I believe will help my students.
7. If I must be reprimanded, do it behind closed doors rather than if front of my students or peers. Treat me with respect.
8. Use the printed word when possible to communicate to me rather than have me attend so many meetings.
9. Shield me as much as possible from parents that cannot keep their cool. I did not become a teacher in order to receive their abuse.
10. Have a school procedure in place for removing disruptive students from the classroom.
11. Observe me as often as possible. Give me feedback on the observation. Give me the opportunity to improve, but if I do not, don’t keep me in a profession in which I cannot be successful. Be honest with me about my skills and my ability. I want to help my students. I do not want to be a detriment to them.
Note, this was the way I felt. This may or may not be how you feel, but it needs to be discussed before changes are made.
Gordon Correll lives in Salisbury.