I have learned this year that meaningful education reform begins with teachers. There are so many voices with an opinion about education–policy makers, parents, administrators, and community members–but none of these stakeholders has the ability to transform learning for students like teachers. If we want sustainable change that benefits the students, we need to first support teachers in their classrooms. This is why I am passionate about connecting teachers and elevating their voices in the reform conversation.
In schools, teachers are often stuck in their classrooms and work in isolation. They get very little time to collaborate with their peers and must use up their personal time to get better at their jobs. That leaves teachers no time to voice their opinions on the challenges that they face in the classroom every day. Still, new policies imposed on teachers only limit a teacher’s creative freedom and ability to help students learn. This is what leads to burnout and teachers quickly leaving the profession.
If people want to improve education, more must be done to work with teachers to empower them as the professionals they are. Outsiders need to listen to what educators need and value their opinions in the conversation on education reform. At the same time, teachers need to support organizations that already advocate on their behalf. It’s necessary to bridge the gap that separates teachers in their classrooms from the community at large. After all, teachers are the ones who have the true impact on students. Not policies, not standardized tests, and not new technology.
Its time to listen to teachers if we want lasting and meaningful change.
This is why educators need to join CEAM’s Educators for Progress movement to help ensure that educators are being supported and rewarded in order to ensure that every student in Missouri has effective teachers in their schools and classrooms.