Within this discussion, we have had ideas shared about how to use summer vacation more effectively, how to harness the power of virtual learning, and how to value student mastery rather than seat time.
These teachers and educational coaches have strong ideas about what schedule reforms could make a real difference in student learning.
Imagine what they could do with more time.
In my last post, I talked about the value of five extra minutes in a teacher’s day. One commenter pointed out to me that five minutes isn’t much extra time. She’s right. While five extra minutes is a beginning, it is the paradigm shift of allowing teachers a flexible schedule to teach and lead that interests me more.
This year, I had the privilege of living the life of a teacherpreneur. Within this model of hybrid teacher leadership, my precious five extra minutes of time became a precious 50 percent of my time.
Within my typical day, I spent the mornings teaching students and my afternoons reading, writing, and meeting with various educational stakeholders on a variety of issues. Within this time, I was able to learn about and be involved in educational reform in my state.
The true power of my experience, though, was that I didn’t have to leave teaching to lead. I never once entered a conversation or committee project without always having my 80 students in mind. By dividing my time between my classroom and the arenas that impact my classroom, I was able to offer informed and challenging ideas to those who are far removed from the schools they are trying to serve.
We need to restructure our system so that teachers have opportunities to remain in the classroom while also participating in conversations and activities that shape the profession.
Our students can’t afford to lose effective teachers and the system needs effective teachers to lead it towards tomorrow. Let’s show teachers the value of their time by allowing them to use it to benefit the system as a whole.
As a teacherpreneur, Jessica divides her time evenly between teaching English at Horizon High School in Denver and supporting results-oriented efforts to improve Colorado’s schools.
The opinions expressed in Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.