Perhaps the most salient lesson learned from the pandemic was how much we still need teachers. Technology will not usurp the fundamental auspices of principals, master teachers, counselors, and other support staff. Students, as social learners, require guidance, structure, and reassurance from adults. The empirical evidence suggests economically disadvantaged students suffer the most from the restricted personal connection of over-reliance on technology.
The data indicate that teachers (1) cannot be replaced in the foreseeable future, and (2) are the most critical component for student realization of future readiness. The status quo is antiquated, faltering with crisis talent shortages, and only projected to intensify further. Preserving the U.S.’s global standing and expanding democratic principles for equality are inseparably coupled with the plight of teachers. Reinvigorating the teaching profession requires decisive action to reorganize the ecosystem and professional opportunities for educators.
Enticing growing pools of talent into the teaching profession involves establishing a vibrant academic structure and altering the perception of teacher value. My viewpoint is to start with teachers. The optimal approach for educational excellence is empowered teachers working in a tiered system for progressive leadership. Grounded in a supportive structure to earn increasing autonomy, teachers elevate their professional agency.
Matthew Weber, PhD, has served as a teacher, principal, department director, district program evaluator, and deputy superintendent. After 41 years as a public-school educator, he retired as an idealist, believing in incorporating the most current knowledge from research and practice.
Postlude: One Viewpoint in an Idea World
Appendix A: Acronyms
About the Author
Elevating the Teaching Profession is timely and provides much insight into the reality that superintendents are grappling with as instructional leaders. Especially important is understanding why classroom teachers are leaving in massive numbers and why young adults are not willing to join the profession. Dr. Weber's book provides unique strategies and systems that, if implemented, will elevate the teaching profession to better recruit, onboard, and retain novice teachers.
Elevating the Teaching Profession: Cultivating Progressive Agency is a well-written asssessment of our educational landscape as it pertains to the high quality expectations for supporting a teacher pipeline. Additionally, this body of work speaks to potential solutions for addressing the challenges faced regarding high quality teacher recruitment and retention. I especially appreciate that this work has been created by a practitioner who has experienced the education system firsthand. Weber has presented this work from a practitioner's perspective while applying a theoretical lens to propose positive change. This is a truly informative body of work.
Outstanding teachers are fundamental for national competitiveness academically, socially, and economically. Weber addresses the root causes for the escalating teacher shortages. He subsequently suggests pragmatic strategies and systems to elevate teachers’ status in society. Revamping the antiquated professional stereotypes with pathways leading to leadership roles is a viable plan for attracting and retaining teacher talent.