To succeed, students need better teachers

Posted on Thursday, 4/25/2013 6:27 pm

Teachers who wish to make a profound impact on their students' lives understand that their own education is never complete. No matter how many years instructors spend teaching or how many degrees they earn, there is always more for them to learn, which, in turn, can make them better educators. 

The need for high-quality teachers will become more important once states finish implementing the Common Core State Standards. After all, it will be difficult for K-12 students to prepare for their collegiate and professional careers if their teachers are not equipped to handle the task at hand.

Building a better teacher
There are many ways for individuals to become more effective teachers, from participation in professional development opportunities to the use of faculty software. The American Federation of Teachers even believes that any individuals who wish to enter this line of work should be required to take a rigorous assessment, similar to the bar exam lawyers must complete, according to a 2012 report.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released a plan for what the Obama Administration believes teachers need to do to become the types of educators children deserve. Through the use of the Blueprint for RESPECT (Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching), administration officials think it is possible to effect positive change within the teaching profession.

"Our nation's educators are entrusted with a responsibility that's impossible to overstate - which is nothing less than to prepare their students, and our children, for the future," said Arne Duncan, the U.S. secretary of education. "We heard from thousands of teachers from across the country who contributed their time and creative ideas to help the RESPECT blueprint reflect their own vision for the teaching profession. With this blueprint, together we can work to elevate the profession through competitive salaries, transforming professional development and career opportunities, and relying on the expertise of teachers to advance educational practice and improve outcomes for students."

Asking educators to take action
According to the RESPECT blueprint, there are seven areas educators need to focus on if they are to transform the teaching profession. They are creating a culture of shared responsibility and leadership; attracting top talent to this line of work; encouraging continuous growth and professional development; ensuring the employment of effective teachers and principals; establishing a professional career continuum with competitive compensation; developing conditions that promote successful teaching and learning; and engaging local communities.

Since the initial launch of RESPECT in February 2012, department officials have engaged more than 5,700 educators across the country. These professionals have taken it upon themselves to redefine what it means to be a teacher, and how instructors can meet the educational demands of the 21st century. President Barack Obama has also asked Congress to help support RESPECT's goals through a proposed $5 billion investment that would help fund a grant program for the initiative.

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