May 19, 2014
New Normal Life of a Teacher
the age of accountability, college readiness and the Common
Core, the role of PK-20 teachers is changing dramatically in
schools and communities across the country.
used to think of teachers as masters of their domain and rulers
of their classroom. They took the standards and the curriculum
frameworks that their school or district gave them and provided
students with instruction and assessment to help their students
master the content.
then, accountability has come knocking on the doorsteps of schools
and classrooms everywhere. Teachers are no longer the masters
of their own domains, but rather an integral part in an educational
system designed to provide students with a more rigorous, integrated
and personalized learning experience with support structures
and interventions designed to help them succeed on their learning
a recent Te@chThought article, "How Teaching is Changing:
15 New Realities Every Teacher Faces," writer Terry Heick
describes how the role of the teacher goes well beyond classroom
management, testing and content delivery.
identifies 15 realities that the modern day teacher faces. These
include things like the personalization and individualization
for all students, the increased understanding and use of technology
and technology resources, and the designing of more highly-integrated
learning experiences that bridge multiple content areas and
better connect home and school.
article is a good starting point for school administrators to
consider when reviewing candidates for open teaching positions
in their schools.
I reflect in my own hiring practices as a high school administrator,
I have seen a shift in what I look for in a potential new teacher
who is looking to join a team at my school. I expanded on this
idea recently for Competency Works in an article entitled "Working
in a Competency Education School: Hiring Tips for Potential
I described the need for teachers who:
"team players" who work closely with their professional
learning community team members
the philosophies of a standards-based assessment philosophy
an extensive understanding of their content area
differentiate instruction like never before
how to provide not only quality instruction but also quality
reteaching, relearning and enrichment
time to students on an ongoing basis.
you are a teacher who completed a teacher preparation program
in the last couple of years, chances are the skills I described
above are ones that you have had to pick up on the job or through
professional development over the last few years.
preparation programs across the country are on notice.
Obama Administration's report "Our Future, Our Teachers,"
released in September 2011, outlined a plan that included a
focus on institutional reporting and state accountability, a
focus on reform financing of students preparing to become teachers,
and the targeting of support to intuitions that prepare high-quality
teachers from diverse backgrounds. The roadmap has been set
for higher education to respond to the current and future needs
of the teacher profession.
today are left with a "new normal" that defines their
profession. It is time for the rest of us to stop looking back
and instead embrace their new normal and all of its promise
as a way to finally restore America's educational system to
an elite status.
teachers are our future, and their expertise and unwavering
dedication to their profession will be the difference in the
lives of our children for generations to come.