Teachers Want More Collaborative Time – Survey Insights are the Key
  • By admin
  • January 14, 2020

By Grace Shelton

@GraceCShelton

Teachers Want More Collaborative Working Time, and Survey Insights are the Key to Giving Them What They Need

It’s no secret that teaching is not an easy profession. In today’s particular climate, teachers are faced with increasingly difficult tasks and confronted with burdens that restrict their autonomy and willingness to continue in their careers. The Atlantic recently reported on a veteran teacher in Arizona, and her experiences in the classroom. She discusses the difficulties of her first few years, and how all the education and training she received simply couldn’t prepare her for the challenges she faced as an educator. However, she persevered, and has been successfully teaching for decades. 

This story is increasingly rare. A recent survey reported that half of teacher respondents stated they considered quitting in recent years. New teachers are less likely to continue past their first year than ever. This case is particularly interesting in that it points to a dire need to listen more to teacher surveys in order to provide them with what they need to stay in the classroom. What helped the featured teacher most, she says, is collaborative working time with other teachers. Allowing another teacher to analyze her student work and help her work through difficult lessons gave her the tools she needed to keep going. 

Teachers Need a Feedback Loop

When teachers have the opportunity to work with one another, their practice improves. The article urges for a “consistent feedback loop” for teachers, using a variety of data such as student work, student and parent surveys, and academic achievement. Teachers need the space to analyze this data together. 

I wanted to point out the importance of surveys in giving teacher collaborative teams a space to help one another. This article cites teacher surveys, parent surveys, and student surveys repeatedly in providing evidence for more teacher collaboration. The article cites a 2013 survey in which teachers picked collaboration as their top choice for professional learning, but only 1/3 of respondents said they had the time to plan lessons and work with peers. An additional survey stated that most of the professional development teachers receive today still comes typically in the form of a long lecture, even though they’d prefer working sessions with one another. Furthermore, the teacher highlighted in this article is proven to be successful based on repeated surveys of her former students.

Surveys are useful tools in many ways, but when teachers are considering leaving the profession at alarming rates, policymakers need to find ways to meet their concerns. Surveys are the only tool in which teachers can state what they need in order to be successful, and with so much pointing to collaborative professional learning, hopefully that will be on the minds of districts when organizing professional development for educators. Additionally, student surveys are often used to point to teacher effectiveness anecdotally. Future works should examine how teacher evaluations change when student survey data is included as well. In the case of the teacher mentioned in this article, it would certainly highlight her achievements in the classroom. Any way you slice it, every stakeholder in education has a voice, and surveys provide the tools to make those voices heard.

 

Resonant Education can help you capture the voices of your learning community.  Contact us and let’s talk about how.