December 17, 2014

For states creating teacher policies, a suggestion: Talk to teachers

Original blog entry at Education Week Teacher's Teaching Ahead blog by Jeff Austin.

In 2009, my principal was named California Teacher of the Year (ToY) and, as part of his ToY responsibilities, he traveled to Japan to observe their schools. He shared many takeaways from that trip that I still think about, but two stick out.

First, in the Japanese schools he visited, the students stay in the same classroom throughout the day while teachers move around from room to room. Second, teachers only taught for half the day, using the other half for collaboration and assessment.

I'm not sure how many teachers would buy into the whole "go to the students" idea, but having more time to plan, grade, assess, and collaborate sounds like an idea we could all get behind—an idea that could really support teachers who are working in very challenging schools.

To read the complete blog entry, visit Education Week Teacher's Teaching Ahead blog.