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.
That has been the case everywhere I have worked. We don’t have enough time to learn from each other. Sometimes it seems like a conscious decision on the part of the schools, and other times it is more a lack of planning and prioritizing. I don’t think collaboration is valued very much in education. Or maybe some people are afraid of it. But whatever the cause, it has to change if we want to keep good teachers in the classroom and help all teachers become better at what they do. Just talking with another teacher about what we are trying to do in the classroom is so eye-opening, so affirming, such an education that it should be built into every week — if not every day.
Shaw concludes his post with these words:
If we want lasting and meaningful reform, it’s time to listen to teachers and let them drive the change.
I couldn’t agree more.