Harvard University education professor Susan Moore Johnson contends that teachers entering the profession today have far different expectations about collegial interaction and career advancement than educators currently nearing retirement. Visitors to www.teachermagazine.org can read more about Johnson’s findings and post their own comments, some of which are excerpted below.
I’ve just retired after 35 years. ... I don’t see any real difference in what young teachers need. ... Young and old teachers need positive feedback and encouragement. That really isn’t happening much today. We get programmed texts and managed curriculum guides.
I am a 34-year-old teacher who came into the profession through an alternative route. ... I have been in the classroom for five years and am now in a new administrative position. ... The “gap” from my vantage point is more between younger teachers and older teachers who have moved into management. ... The teacher- leaders responsible for facilitating team meetings always engage the teams in collaborative dialogue. ... Our administrators view meetings as time to give teachers directives and information that could be distributed via e-mail.
I’ve been teaching eight years and consider myself finally out of the “novice” category. ... More room for collaboration, teacher-made decisions, and career advancement are needed to bring motivated, interested young teachers into the fold and to keep us all here.
Plenty of us experienced teachers are interested in promotions, but the opportunities are very limited beyond administration. Most of us would rather stay in the classroom than sacrifice our values, mental, physical, and emotional health by implementing public school system policies.
To read more or respond, go to Teacher Talkback.
A version of this article appeared in the January 01, 2006 edition of Teacher as Then and Now