Scholastic recently conducted a survey with each States Teacher of The Year candidates. The survey sought to answer the following questions: How would teachers prioritize education funding? What aspects of their jobs give them the most satisfaction? What qualities do they believe great teachers have? Do teachers believe higher standards like the Common Core will have a positive impact on students? (Scholastic) Forty-six teachers participated.
The following key themes emerged from the survey: Teachers see issues like poverty, family stress and other out-of-school barriers to learning greatly affecting student academic success, and they prioritize things like anti-poverty initiatives, early learning and other community supports and services for funding. (Scholastic) See the spending info graphic here. Do you agree? What are the greatest barriers to your student’s success in the classroom? If you could control the budget where would you allocate the most spending?
The survey goes on to ask, “What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a teacher?” (Scholastic) The resounding answer was, “There never seems to be enough time to cover all of the material I need/want to cover with my students.” Would you agree? Is time your biggest challenge? When I first taught in a classroom, time management was definitely a struggle, but not my greatest. For me it was classroom management! Education theory and lesson preparation can only get you so far with a room of 27 first graders. If you don’t know how to manage behavior, create a balance of movement and desk time, and establish clear expectations and consequences, you can be in big trouble. I learned the hard way, how about you?
The survey then asks, “Which three aspects of your job, or part of the school day, give you the highest and least satisfaction?” “Working in small groups or one on one with a student,” proved to be the most satisfying part of the day, followed by, “Teaching a whole group lesson” and “Collaborating with peers.” For me, the best part of the day was anytime a lesson went well and the children were engaged, curious, and happy. Being able to end a class period with a feeling of accomplishment was a wonderful sensation. What part of the day gives you the most satisfaction?
Now for the least satisfying part of the day, drum roll please…you guessed it, “Professional paperwork & filing reports!” In close contention for the title was, grading student work, preparing student reports, and discipline. I have to agree, paperwork, reports, and discipline did not score high on my satisfaction meter. How about you? What is your least satisfying part of the day?
The survey goes on to ask, “What top qualities do they feel make a good teacher?” Scholastic compiled their answers in this info graphic. Humor, positive, commitment, compassion, planning, sense of humor, patience, and flexibility were among the qualities chosen. If I had to narrow it down to five, I would have to choose commitment, patience, compassion, flexibility, and sense of humor. A great teacher really does embody all the qualities displayed in the info graphic. Do you agree? If you had to pick five qualities, what would you choose?
The last part of the survey summary was the most controversial for me. It states the following: Ninety-six percent (all but two of the teachers who responded) agreed that higher standards being implemented – Common Core or other high standards – will have a positive impact on student learning. I am currently not in the classroom and do not have to deal with Common Core, but I am familiar with the issues it has raised. I personally know teachers who are for it and against it. Having higher standards implemented does not sound like a bad thing, but the form in which these higher standards take seems of great importance. The internet is full of stories surrounding the issues Common Core has raised. I know this is not a one-sided debate and would like to hear your thoughts on Common Core and other standards that are being implemented in your schools.
In conclusion, I think these were great questions and that this survey should be given to all teachers. Furthermore, the findings should be shared with policy makers and school administrators. In my opinion, it should be teacher’s ideas and voices that create policies and programs, not the other way around. Please be sure to read Greg Worrell’s complete summary of the survey and view the info graphics in their entirety here.
Thank you for reading and for sharing. We look forward to your responses!