Teacher to Teacher: Wish List
By Janice Ewing
In this season of giving and receiving, of lists and recommendations, I’ve been thinking about teachers, especially new ones, and what they need. So, here’s a wish list for new (and not so new) teachers:
- Voice: the confidence to share ideas, ask questions, raise doubts about questionable practices and about why things have always been done ‘that way’
- Agency: the understanding that it is teachers’ day to day and moment to moment decisions, based on knowledge of their students, that move students forward, not following a scripted plan with the goal of raising test scores x number of points for x number of students
- Creativity: the freedom to use the unique talents, interests, and strengths that each teacher brings to the profession in order to bring learning to life for each unique group of students
- Breathing space: the acknowledgment of the need to develop familiarity with new practices before additional ones are thrown into the mix
- Reflection: time, space, and support for teachers to look at their own practice –what to keep, what to change, what resources are needed
- Collegial planning and sharing: the opportunity to talk with trusted colleagues about what worked, what didn’t and what’s next
- Inquiry: encouragement to pursue areas of interest and passion for authentic professional learning and growth
- Freedom from the testing tyranny: using assessment, in all its forms, as a way to truly learn about students and guide instruction
- Mentors: finding them in a variety of guises – the colleague next door, the Twitter friend, the literacy guru, the supportive administrator
- Joy: staying in touch with what led us to teaching in the first place – a love of learning and of bringing that love of learning to others
Which of these are on your list? Which one tops the list for you? What would you add? What can you give to another teacher? Please join the conversation.
Janice Ewing is an adjunct for Cabrini College and a co-director for the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project. Janice co-facilitates PAWLP’s “Continuity Days” and this blog. She is an avid reader and writer, and especially enjoys writing poems.