If more of us entered into conversation
with teachers and got to hear them talk about what’s possible for our kids and our classrooms, we’d be a lot more optimistic about education. I
know I am.
We share Melinda Gates’ deep optimism
for our classrooms and students.
Throughout our careers, we’ve had the immense privilege to learn with
and from incredible teachers. We’ve made
listening and learning from teachers a priority in all that we’ve done and will
continue to do at the foundation. Through
our own experiences, and through compelling evidence, we know that the most
powerful in-school factor in student success is an effective teacher. Since the strategy began in 2008, we’ve learned
so much from teachers, and in so many ways.
Sharing what we’ve learned not only helps inform the broader education
field, but calls all of us to action on their behalf. If knowledge is power, it’s our
responsibility to empower everyone the best we can to help teachers help
students do better by sharing what we know and encouraging dialogue in the
education space. And that’s why we’ve
created a new series, Let’s Talk.
In one of our
first two Let’s Talk editions, Nobody Knows Teaching Like Teachers, we’ve sought
to better understand teachers’ ideas and capture their experiences in their own
words. We wanted to know, What are teachers saying when unprompted? What
issues are at the forefront? These
stories are compilations—not summaries— of teachers’ own words from thousands
of conversations, interviews, surveys and social media. Reflected are patterns that emerged through
close analysis of what teachers are saying online in edchats, blog posts, and
tweets. As you’ll read, these narratives
are windows into how teachers view everything – their classrooms, their profession,
and the education system as a whole.
say they want comes across loud and clear:
Teachers need opportunities to build
relationships with one another, swap ideas, and exchange meaningful
feedback. Teachers are life-long learners, and want
communities where they can learn from colleagues. They don’t want to be isolated in their
classrooms trying to figure out how to grow and develop on their own. Teachers want time to access the experts they
trust most – other teachers.
Teachers need planning time, resources, and the
freedom to make tough calls. Many good teachers are burning out, losing their
passion, and leaving the profession because they don’t have the respect they
need from school systems and parents.
Real change must happen with
teachers, not to them.
Teachers need a new career ladder. Teachers
need opportunities to pursue ‘hybrid’ roles that include paths to leadership
and mentorship. Many teachers aspire to
grow professionally in ways that the classroom alone cannot provide.
To help teachers connect and
access the expertise of each other, we’ve supported the creation of a robust community
where teachers can lean on each other. Teacher2Teacher
is being co-built with teacher leaders to shape a space where teachers can connect
to share ideas and resources, support one another, and elevate and celebrate the
Within Teacher2Teacher, is a
combination of digital and face-to-face activities. There’s been a series of regional salons
where small groups of teachers come together to discuss, collaborate, and learn
from each other. ECET2 (Elevating
and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers), is another face-to-face
activity where a large network of teachers organize national, regional, and
local convenings to inspire colleagues, develop attendees’ leadership
potential, and improve the teaching practice to better serve students. To date, there have been over 20,000 teachers
who have participated in ECET2 convenings across the country.
Digitally, there are online
collaborations like #whyiteach, inspiring teachers to share what motivates them
through an interactive experience. And
there are robust communities growing on Twitter at @Teacher2Teacher and Facebook.
We hope you’ll sign up to stay up to date with the Let’s Talk series, and
share what you’re learning as well - because together, there isn’t anything we
It’s not too late to register
for the Let’s Talk online conversation on December 17, 2015 at 11:00-12:00pm
PST and dig into the findings and learn more about upcoming releases.
need to be empowered; I know what I want to do, why I want to do it, and I
trust myself to get the job done. I need you to recognize the challenges I face
and create solutions. Don’t empower me. Share power.
--Jeffery Cipriani, Teacher
When you are a teacher in your class with your kids, you can
get very myopic. It’s difficult to
get perspective. You can reflect better on your own practice when you listen to
other teachers and hear what they are doing.