Sunday, September 01, 2013

TNTP Study on Top Teachers

Speaking of top teachers, here’s an important new report from TNTP:

August 13, 2013


Today we’re releasing the results of a teacher survey—but it’s not your typical teacher survey.

After publishing The Irreplaceables, our 2012 study on how urban schools neglect top teachers, we wanted to know more about what high-performing teachers in high-need schools think about their classrooms and careers. So we reached out to 117 of America’s best teachers, including winners of elite teaching awards and those recognized by leading education organizations, to get their perspectives.

Our goal was not to generate a scientifically representative sample but to listen carefully and represent the complexity of their views and voices as faithfully as possible.  We asked them about everything from how they spend their time during a normal workday to what they think about the major policy issues facing their schools.

Our new report, Perspectives of Irreplaceable Teachers, explains what we heard. It focuses on three broad topics of immediate relevance to policymakers: What does effective (and ineffective) teaching look like? How do the best teachers become so effective? And what do great teachers think about their profession? Here’s what we saw in their responses:

·       They have a troubling love/hate relationship with their profession. Our respondents cherish the opportunity to make a difference in their students’ lives. But they feel beaten down by many other aspects of the profession, like low pay, excessive bureaucracy, and ineffective leaders and colleagues. About 60 percent plan to stop teaching within five years as a result.
·       When it comes to measuring success in the classroom, they value a wide array of factors. Our respondents judge their success in many different ways, from their students’ academic performance and future success to feedback from their school leaders, respected colleagues and students.
·       They attribute little of their success to formal preparation or professional development programs. When asked to rank activities that had improved the quality of their teaching, our respondents’ put their preparation programs and formal professional development at the very bottom of the list.

Download Perspectives of Irreplaceable Teachers to learn more. We’ll also be exploring the survey results in even greater depth on our blog throughout the next few months.

We hope the results of our survey will help start productive conversations across the education community. Most importantly, we hope they will encourage everyone to seek out the views of our best teachers more often. That’s the key to building a teaching profession that the best and the brightest will want to be part of for generations to come.

Tim Daly
President, TNTP

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