A new buzzword in the education field is engagement. You can read more about this in an article about a Gallup report on teacher engagement. Apparently teacher engagement is crucial to student engagement, and the numbers are down. (Really?) Yesterday I passed a brand-new bulletin board display in a teachers lounge. It read: I feel engaged when...
And it was blank. I laughed to myself.
Now, it was blank because it's the beginning of the year, and it is obviously an all-school exercise meant to fill up over time. But I found it to be a bit disconcerting because there are so many answers that teachers would probably like to put on that bulletin board that they don't dare to.
I feel engaged when:
- My knowledge and expertise is solicited and considered when curriculum and programming changes are being considered.
- I am permitted to speak openly with parents who ask me questions about my subject area.
- I am treated with respect by the Board and Superintendent during contract negotiations.
- My planning time is respected as a valuable part of the educational process and not usurped for administrative meetings.
- My teaching is evaluated through consistent and fair observation, and not by student numbers on high stakes testing.
- I am actively involved in choosing and participating in relevant Professional Development sessions.
- I am encouraged to teach in a way that truly benefits my students.
It is no surprise to me that, given the current environment in education both in the U.S. and in Howard County, that teachers lose heart. But let's be honest and talk about why, and really do something about it.