This article was posted originally in The Global Search for Education
by CM Rubin
The role of teachers is paramount to raising educational standards around the globe. In countries such as Finland, Singapore and South Korea, teachers are recruited from the most qualified graduates, are highly trained, respected and paid well. But that’s not the case in every country. According to Mckinsey’s “Closing the Talent Gap: Attracting and Retaining Top-Third Graduates to Careers in Teaching”, in the United States for example, only 23 percent of new teachers come from the top third, and just 14 percent are in high poverty schools, where the difficulty of attracting and retaining talented teachers is particularly acute. If nations are serious about attracting the best talent to educate their children, they clearly need to improve the value proposition to potential candidates.
Our Global Teacher Bloggers are pioneers and innovators in fields such as technology integration, mathematics coaching, special needs education, science instruction, and gender equity. They have founded schools, written curricula, and led classrooms in 13 different countries that stretch across every populated continent on earth. These teachers empower and enrich the lives of young people from nearly every background imaginable.
Today in The Global Search for Education, our Top Global Teacher Bloggers share their answers to this month’s question: How do we inspire the best and brightest to become educators?
The short answer to our question for Miriam Mason-Sesay (@EducAidSL) in Sierra Leone is to “engage young people in a new paradigm. If success is defined in terms of being human; if success is defined in terms of how many people have I had a positive impact on through my ways of being and dealing with them; if success is defined in terms of have I made the world a better place by the ways I treat others and live my life, then there is an excitement about being part of the only profession where we can truly change the life chances of hundreds of young people.” Read More.
Maarit Rossi (@pathstomath) offers crucial insight into the question, being from Finland–arguably the country with the best teachers in the world. She thinks it boils down to simple concepts like: “respect of the profession, flexibility of the curriculum, teachers’ high level of education and autonomy of teaching methods.” In Finland, there are no school inspectors nor national tests. Teachers themselves are trusted to observe and evaluate their students. “I make my own tests or make them together with a colleague. We don’t give much homework.” Read more.
“Within the most challenging schools there are educators whose love for what they do can be infectious because they see value of impacting the lives of children,” says Nadia Lopez (@TheLopezEffect) whose school is in one of New York’s low income neighborhoods where recruiting and keeping skilled teachers is very difficult. Check out Nadia’s top tips to attract the best and brightest to a career in education: Read more.
Adam Steiner’s blog (@steineredtech) is inspired by the award-winning book, Professional Capital (Authors Andy Hargreaves @HargreavesBC and Michael Fullan @MichaelFullan1). Professional Capital recognized that teaching cannot be scripted and emphasized collective responsibility and shared success as key to school success. Steiner notes that the lessons of Professional Capital identify “key factors in recruiting and retaining the best teachers”: Read more.
Pauline Hawkins (@PaulineDHawkins) asserts “American teachers are scapegoats for everything wrong with our society.” So how does Pauline suggest we bring respect to the profession? The first step in her multiple step process is “getting rid of the ridiculous evaluation system based on standardized tests and tied to teacher pay. Master teachers know that their true effectiveness cannot be measured by a test.” Read more.
“It starts with us! The people in education right now!” says Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz) who believes that part of the problem is the media tends to show the hardships of being an educator. Craig, who credits his Mum for his passion to teach, says educators must promote and share what they do in positive ways. “One comment can influence someone to become a teacher.” Read more.
Rashmi Kathuria (@rashkath) from India notes, “Teaching is not just a job from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. It is a time consuming job even after regular school hours.” When teachers go home they don’t usually get to relax; teachers prepare assignments, do corrections, and work at home preparing lesson plans. They also, “take up online self-professional development from home.” Rashmi recommends incentives for teachers who do extraordinary work such as “a subsidized internet connection to work from home and remain connected with students through their blogs/wikis/online classrooms.” Read more.
“There are no magic tricks” says Dana Narvaisa (@dana_narvaisa) from Latvia who shares experiences from her own journey. “If you’re a leader in your twenties or thirties, you’re looking for growth, you’re looking for mentors, for role models. To get the best and brightest to become educators, they need at least a few more like-minded people on their team for long term success.” Read More.
Money and common sense are key, notes Todd Finley (@finleyt) quoting Stanford Professor Linda Darling-Hammond: “Nearly all of the vacancies currently filled with emergency teachers could be filled with talented, well-prepared teachers if 40,000 service scholarships of up to $25,000 each were offered annually” to offset teacher education costs based on merit. Curriculum that’s too focused on standardized test scores is “soul killing” and evaluation by VAM Scores should immediately stop. “To attract teachers, we need the public will to support service scholarships, increase pay, stop over-testing, and terminate verifiably wrong-headed evaluation practices.” Read more.
Richard Wells (@EduWells) takes a different approach to the question. “I believe it makes for a more positive debate when people discuss the potential growth of current teachers, than that of asking: ‘how do we attract better people?” So how does New Zealand build the best and the brightest teachers? Read more.
Katherine Franco Cardenas (@ProfKaterineFra) of Colombia writes for The Global Search for Education in her native language of Spanish and believes that, “one way to inspire the best and brightest to become an educator lies in providing the opportunity for direct interaction with teachers making a difference in the context in which they operate.” It’s important for teachers to meet inspiring educators to serve as a role model for how an educator can make a positive effect on their communities. Read More.
The Top Global Teacher Bloggers is a monthly series where educators across the globe offer experienced yet unique takes on today’s most important topics. CMRubinWorld utilizes the platform to propagate the voices of the most indispensable people of our learning institutions, teachers.
Top Row, left to right: Adam Steiner, Santhi Karamcheti, Pauline Hawkins2nd Row: Elisa Guerra, Humaira Bachal, C. M. Rubin, Todd Finley,
Warren Sparrow3rd Row: Nadia Lopez, Katherine Franco Cardernas, Craig Kemp,
Rashmi Kathuria, Maarit RossiBottom Row: Dana Narvaisa, Richard Wells, Vicki Davis, Miriam Mason-Sesay
(All photos are courtesy of CMRubinWorld)
C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, is the publisher of CMRubinWorld, and is a Disruptor Foundation Fellow.