Opinion
School & District Management Letter to the Editor

Teachers Should Receive More Time to Collaborate

May 07, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Laurie Barnoski’s Commentary, “School Leaders: Don’t Let Your Teachers Lose Heart” (April 3, 2013), was an important reminder of the emotional and professional demands of teaching.

While I agree with many of the common-sense recommendations Ms. Barnoski had for encouraging our teachers, the most important thing we can do is give them time to work together, to collaborate. The idiom “many hands make light work” holds true in schools where educators are encouraged to build shared strategies to deepen student learning.

The National Center for Literacy Education, or NCLE, just released a survey report, “Remodeling Literacy Learning: Making Room for What Works,” with responses from 2,400 educators across all grade levels and subject areas. When asked what kind of professional learning they value most, educators cited co-planning with colleagues because it allows them to actively exchange ideas and implement new approaches quickly and effectively.

Sarah Brown Wessling, a good friend and former national teacher of the year, says collaborative practice allows educators to become learners again. As an experienced, innovative high school English teacher, Ms. Wessling knows that when collaboration is the norm, trust among educators soars and insights about effective practices spread. This leads to greater job satisfaction and sustained school improvement.

Yet despite strong interest in collaborative practice and decisionmaking among educators, results from the NCLE’s findings and the 2009 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher on collaborating for student success show that the time available for structured collaboration in schools is small ... and shrinking rapidly.

If we want to embed educator collaboration and problem-solving in the school day, we need to think boldly about how instructional time is organized, how to eliminate nonessential duties, and how other education professionals and students themselves can collaborate.

It’s time to stop piling on the initiatives and start building the capacity of educators to work together on the real issues that inhibit high-quality teaching and learning.

Kent Williamson

Director

National Center for Literacy Education

Executive Director

National Council of Teachers of English

Urbana, Ill.

A version of this article appeared in the May 08, 2013 edition of Education Week as Teachers Should Receive More Time to Collaborate

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Leading a City School District Is Tough. A New Program Aims to Ease the Way
Its creators hope to drive down big-city superintendent turnover by preparing candidates for the stresses of leadership.
3 min read
Woman standing on a paper boat with a tsunami wave approaching.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management 5 Tips for Switching From Snow Days to Remote Classes
Two district leaders say communication, flexibility, and adaptability are key to success.
4 min read
Close up of hands holding a smartphone and working at a laptop near a window showing a snowy day
iStock/Getty
School & District Management Will Schools Actually Ditch Snow Days for Virtual Learning? The Outlook Is Still Cloudy
More districts are substituting some remote learning, but snow days are still an option in many places.
5 min read
Buses parked covered with snow
iStock/Getty
School & District Management 3 Tips to Build Trust Between School Boards and the Public
Here's how school boards can improve ways of interacting with parents and the community.
3 min read
Photo of empty chairs at school board meeting.
iStock / Getty Images Plus