Professional support plays a big role in how teachers view their jobs. Research has suggested that having a mentor can keep teachers in the profession for longer, and that teachers who like their principals rate their school climate more favorably.
A new report attempts to pinpoint the factors that hinder this kind of supportive work environment for educators, and it offers a roadmap toward creating a stronger professional culture.
The report argues that four main factors prevent schools from reaching these goals:
Belief: Too often, schools look at improving professional culture as one end of a binary choice: They can prioritize either student learning or teacher growth. But the two aren’t in conflict, the report argues, as actively supporting teachers can lead to better student outcomes.
Structures: When schedules, teacher-evaluation methods, or professional-development practices don’t allow for collaboration or growth, school leaders may not have the authority to make changes to the system. Promising programs—like teacher-leadership pathways—are often put in place without a roadmap to implementation.
Capacity: Changing a school’s culture takes time, training, and support—resources that school leaders, especially principals, often don’t have.
Resources: Developing more opportunities for professional learning and collaboration often requires additional funding, which schools and districts may find difficult to secure.
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