The value of teachers in society is immeasurable and almost universally understated. They are not only astute subject matter experts but experts at transferring knowledge to others with a superhuman mixture of engagement, empathy, and encouragement. We need to give teachers the tools they need and let them do the phenomenal work they are all capable of. This means giving educators a voice in shaping district goals and putting them in control of the work they do achieve those goals. Administrators should function as teacher advocates who help teachers be successful rather than authorities in a long, bureaucratic chain of command.
Nurture the whole educator
Teaching can exhaust the mind, heart, and spirit faster than other professions. To retain the most talented educators, we should make great efforts to prevent employee burnout by ensuring educators feel supported in taking care of themselves physically, emotionally, and professionally. This requires a few different strategies. We should provide opportunities for teachers to nurture their passions and share them with students in intersession classes covering niche topics. We should also offer clear career pathways for advancement and professional development to support it.
Align and compete on values
North Carolina currently ranks 41st in the nation for average teacher pay. It goes without saying that we are not paying our teachers nearly enough for the tireless work they do. But competing for top talent is not just about pay. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a teacher who got into teaching for the money. We can recruit, cultivate, and retain exceptional educators if we show them CMS is a district that understands and shares their values. Administrators should engage with each teacher individually and craft a personalized plan for professional fulfillment and work-life balance. CMS should be the school district that embodies all the reasons people choose to pursue a career in teaching.
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