But I’m a teacher, you may be saying. I already have a more-than-full-time job. How can I possibly add all this to the job that I do?
This is the reality: the role of teachers is expanding in some big ways. Most teachers no longer live in isolation behind their classroom doors, answering only to themselves about what and how they teach. Most teachers are impacted by the multiple changes in how schools work, changes that might be impacting you: from shared community practice (through PLCs and other group decision-making); to mandated models of teacher assessment; to required curricula, pacing guides, and district-wide end-of-course assessments.
<insert graphic on changing role>
What does this mean for teachers?
It’s time for a shift in the way we see our roles as educators: Passively receiving the latest mandates doesn’t help our students and railing against the machine can threaten our job security. We have to forge a new path – one that enables us to work to change the system but continue to succeed in it at the same time. Educators must work in ways that are smart, savvy, and safe.
SMART: Teachers need to be articulate about their expertise surrounding both their content knowledge and their pedagogical knowledge; they need to be articulate about why they teach in particular ways–especially if those ways vary from increasingly narrow, standardized practices.
SAFE and SAVVY: And as we move forward, teachers who want to teach in ways that might deviate from these standardized practices need to be increasingly strategic in informing others about their reasons for teaching in those ways: making sure that those who need to know (other teachers, administrators, parents, the community at large) are provided with convincing information about these ways of teaching.
At this juncture, teacher professionalism depends on all three.