Teaching Profession

From Fidget Spinners to Teacher Stress, Here Are the Top Teaching Posts of 2017

By Madeline Will — December 21, 2017 3 min read
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The clock is ticking down for 2017, bringing an eventful year to a close. Before you head off on a well-deserved break, take a look at our list of the 10 most-read Teaching Now posts this year.

10. Study: Black Students More Likely to Graduate if They Have One Black Teacher

This Johns Hopkins study got a lot of attention. It found that if a low-income black student has just one black teacher in elementary school, that student is significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college.

9. Is a Good Teacher One Who Makes Kids Happy or One Who Raises Test Scores?

A study from the University of Maryland found that on average, teachers who are good at raising test scores are worse at making students happy and engaged in school. While some teachers can, of course, successfully do both, the study raises questions for policymakers: What should they be considering when evaluating teacher effectiveness?

8. Teachers Share Resources for Addressing Charlottesville Hate Rally in the Classroom

The start to the 2017-18 school year was marred by the shocking scenes from a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that resulted in the death of a counter-protester. Educators took to Twitter to share resources on how to address the tragedy in class.

Education Week put together a video sharing five pieces of advice from educators on discussing racism and hatred in the classroom:

7. Some Top U.S. Educators Went to Finland. Their Big Takeaway: Empower Teachers

Five state teachers of the year went to Finland to learn about the high-performing country’s education system. Two of those teachers spoke to Teaching Now about how Finnish schools differ from U.S. schools.

“There’s no secret to education, there’s no secret formula that they’re doing right and we’re doing wrong, they’re just trying new things and being innovative and giving teachers more power,” one teacher said.

6. Several Educators Identified as Victims in Las Vegas Mass Shooting

In October, a gunman opened fire at an outdoor country music festival, killing at least 59 people—making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. At least eight of the victims were educators or school-based personnel.

5. Teachers Are Quitting Because They’re Dissatisfied. That’s a Crisis, Scholars Say

Teachers who leave the profession and teachers who change schools are most commonly leaving because they are dissatisfied, according to an analysis by the Learning Policy Institute, a California-based think tank. Researchers from the LPI said this teacher turnover hurts student achievement, is expensive for schools and districts, and leads to teacher shortages.

4. Do Fidget Spinners Belong in the Classroom? Teachers Are Divided

In 2017, it was hard to find a classroom without at least one student twirling a fidget spinner. The handheld toys are meant to help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, anxiety, or other conditions relieve tension and focus better. But many teachers said fidget spinners have caused classroom disruptions and were used as nothing more than toys.

3. Educators Are More Stressed at Work Than Average People, Survey Finds

A survey by the American Federation of Teachers and the advocacy group Badass Teachers Association found that teacher stress levels have grown in the past two years. In 2017, educators reported work to be stressful 61 percent of the time (and nearly a quarter of the respondents said work was “always” stressful), while workers in the general population report that work is stressful 30 percent of the time.

2. ‘The Magic School Bus’ Will Return to Teach New Generations About STEM

In perhaps the most exciting education news (... sort of) of the year, Netflix released its “Magic School Bus” reboot. “The Magic School Bus Rides Again” premiered on Sept. 29, with Kate McKinnon voicing the role of the new Ms. Frizzle—the original Mrs. Frizzle’s little sister.

But don’t worry, the original Mrs. Frizzle, who is everyone’s favorite science teacher and is voiced by Lily Tomlin, is back—now as Professor Frizzle!

1. New Report Names the Best Cities to Live in If You’re a Teacher

This report by data analysis site GoodCall got a lot of attention. It named Bentonville, Ark., as the best city for K-12 teachers to live in—namely because teachers there make 68 percent more than the city’s median overall salary, and the cost of living there is about 10 percent below the national average.

Thanks for reading!

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.