5 Things to improve the teaching profession right now

We all complain about the state of education and the lack of new teacher candidates, but what can we do to change the conversation about education in our country (other than raising teacher salaries, which is a given)?

I went to Twitter, and through the @TeachBetterTeam and #Masterychat, I was able to ask this question to hundreds of educators. I’ve compiled their responses into six categories. Check back on Friday for a post with actionable strategies for how we can create change in each of the six categories.

Please leave comments below to share your opinions on the suggestions here or to add your own suggestions!

1. Change public perception

This might be controversial to say, but I think the overall culture needs to change. The role of the T cannot be set to a box. Teaching is an art, and as such needs to be reflected in curricula, teacher preparation programs, assessment, observation, etc. #masterychat

@MarkRyanPod Transparency in our schools. #MasteryChat

@skhooldesign Kill the martyrdom myths about teaching. #MasteryChat

2: Adaptive national issues require adaptive national solutions. Adopting a Kennedy-esque program focused on teaching & service, in conjunction to an in Title II funding would be a great start. #Masterychat
Let's recognize the gifts that we see in our students. 

Celebrate and share your joy with your Ss...If they see your passion, it truly can be contagious. We need to emphasize that education can be a life-long profession with immense intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. #MasteryChat
as a culture we need to create a mind shift and increase #respect for the teaching profession  #Masterychat

2. Support future teachers better

@alisonstoneCBSD We need better teacher preparation programs. Students need to be in the classroom sooner and need to be mentored longer. They need classes in cognitive biology so they understand how learning occurs. #masterychat

@GuidingTeachers A2 #MasteryChat better mentoring programs. College classes that offer more nuts and bolts of the job. Less overwhelming paperwork so novices can spend time planning. PLCs are great for novices and everyone-add to schedules at least twice a week.

I think this starts with teacher prep and making sure that we are setting up incoming Ts for success and with realistic expectations and integrate new practices. Most Ts leave within the 1st 5 yrs because the profession is not what they expected  #MasteryChat

@LearningGiant Our school has an ed prep program in it. They visit schools and learn alongside teachers. If they continue on, they can get a full ride to a local university which would allow them to student teach in our district. #masterychat

@dcpsmoss Make interviews more about getting to know the person; pedagogy will come through in their answers about themselves. People need to know you care about them, not just their content knowledge.

@mrterborg We need to treat education specialists (teachers, etc.) like we do physicians. Interning for multiple sites, years, gradual release. (Maybe postdoc appts?) #MasteryChat

3. Support new (& current) teachers better

@PreK33 Support them. Give them a mentor who will give them the hidden rules of the building, people, and district. #masteryChat

@TechieTeachOtt A2 I would like to see first (and even second) year Ts have a reduced class load (and not have it filled up with unnecessary meetings). I know that it is not really all that possible to do because of the way schedules work out, but new Ts need that extra time! #masterychat

@Daniel1Teach Equip & Empower them!! Give them the tools they need through intentional & purposeful PD to help them continuously grow! Ensure they have a strong mentor who will also help guide them through the first few years!! Let them know it is ok to take risks & fail!!

 #MasteryChat To help retain teachers it important to provide them with leader ship and growing opportunities - it is also important for them to be able to be surrounded by experienced educators Who can provide encouragement and modeling

@mrspmathworld Support teachers who want to break the mold. Let teachers have the space and freedom to try new things without the fear of getting in trouble if it fails. #masterychat

@GrayMttrs Most cite working environment as a reason for leaving EDU. We have got to provide our educators a safe & encouraging space where it is okay to admit that not every day is full of unicorns & rainbows. There’s no shame in admitting that or asking for help! #masterychat

@mrspmathworld Yes! We talk so much about what Ss need and how to support them but we forget that we also need to support and take care of our Ts.

@LearningGiant Give them a community. Develop shared language & understandings of what we all want and then work together to ensure that happens support when we struggle. As one of my division heads told me, you will spend more waking hours at work than with your family. #masterychat

4. Give teachers more respect and, therefore, more freedom

A2: I feel selfish at times, even in my “selfless” profession. At times I feel I learn more from the kids than they do from me. But isn’t that why it’s so important? We need to empower teachers. Let them take risks, let them fail forward. #masterychat

@MsHake418· “Everytime we turn around we are hearing about what we are losing, and mostly control in our own classrooms as everyone tries to tell us how to do our jobs. Trust us as professionals like other professions. That would be a start.” #masterychat

@GuiseGotTechEd A2: promote more collaboration opportunities. One of the leading causes of teachers leaving the profession is stress. Help each other progress together and cut down on the teacher workload. Share share share. #MasteryChat

5. Recognize/respect teachers for the work they do and the impacts they make

Create environments like great businesses where the model and school is built around staff strengths. Rather than predetermining a product/model and trying to make people fit well. 2. Emotion fuels cognition. More time on teacher mindset and perceptions.

@teachconnect_us Many teachers feel powerless, that their voice as an educator doesn’t matter. So why not solicit teacher feedback and use it in decision making more often. #MasteryChat

@AnangFoncha Support teachers morally and materially. Help them be inspired to teach even with didactic support and mere congratulatory messages. Be opened to teachers, not condemning even the worst, but rather encouraging them to bring out their very best.

@ElYaafouriELD Provide opportunities to feel valued as experts in our craft. Most teachers feel forever shy of the (arbitrary)”standards.” The fact is, we’re HERE. We’re showing up tough work. Sometimes, the recognition that our work is meaningful and essential is attraction enough.#masterychat

@MrAustinA2 What’s the incentive when people can go make more money doing something that’s likely emotionally easier, features more work-life balance + gets more public respect? #MasteryChat

@DeppsDon Empower teachers 100. Create a school culture that promotes shared ownership, collaboration and peer respect! Allow teachers to take top off learning with the freedom to be creative, adapt next practice and the support to grow from failures! #MasteryChat#ChasingGreatness

@culliope a culture that is collaborative, collegial, celebrates growth and smart risk taking, assumes good intentions and provides support and allows for vulnerability and learning for ADULTS and KIDS would make people feel much more valued, valuable and supported #masterychat

BONUS: Change laws about testing, loan forgiveness

@ESTangelia First, eliminate high-stakes testing that drives so much of the pressure in schools. Then, provide quality support and mentoring for new teachers. Also, treat us like professionals with the same respect granted to other professionals. #masterychat

better incentives such as loan reductions. A better recruitment of minority candidates. Stronger support systems to help teachers early in their careers. 

Check back on Friday for actionable steps that you can take right now to improve the future of education.


Make sure to share, sweet, and pin to share these ideas beyond the education community. The more people who commit to improving the teaching profession the more hope we have for the future.

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A Teacher's Guide

I am a National Board Certified educator currently teaching in Virginia. I have taught the following: English 9, 10, 11, and 12 (on academic, collaborative, and honors levels); Dual Enrollment English; Mass Communications, Yearbook, Newspaper, and Communications Technology. I have experience in five different school systems, four in Virginia and one in Maryland. I served as my school’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and was a top five finalist for the Teacher of the Year for Virginia Beach City Public Schools. I am passionate about recruiting and retaining quality educators in our public schools. Let me help you find your path to changing lives through teaching!

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1 Response

  1. May 10, 2019

    […] which is a given)? I’ve compiled their responses into six categories. On Tuesday I posted the six categories with the tweets that inspired them. Today’s post is about actionable strategies for how we can create change in each of the six […]

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