- Better pay. Teachers are underpaid. There, we said it. They're passionate about educating future generations, and they want to do what’s best for students. Unfortunately, as one of the most important jobs in society—and one with a strong influence on how kids turn out when they grow up—teaching is woefully undervalued.
That’s why so many teachers leave the industry every year because it just doesn’t pay enough money or give them time with their families (or both). An improvement to teacher salaries would mean happier teachers who are better able to do their jobs well and provide an excellent education for all students.
- More training. Teachers need training in the new skills they will be using, which means they need time to learn them. Teachers also need time to reflect on what they have learned, and try out some new techniques before putting them into practice. A teacher who is given only a few days or weeks of training with an educational technology resource may quickly become overwhelmed by its complexity and feel like it is not worth the effort.
- Work-Life balance. Teachers are constantly being told that they need to work longer hours. But teachers say they need more time for themselves. The problem is not just that teachers work long hours; it’s also that their work takes up so much of their off-time as well. They have to do lesson planning and grading at home, for example. And then there are all those meetings, professional development sessions, and parent conferences that take place outside school hours but still require a significant commitment from teachers who have evening commitments like kids’ activities or family obligations of their own.
Teachers need time away from work because it helps them be better at their jobs: if you don’t get enough sleep or exercise regularly or eat healthy foods (or any food at all) while working fulltime in a high-pressure environment like teaching, then you can expect to burn out before the end of your career.
- Supportive Administrators. If you're a teacher, chances are you've thought about what it would take for your job to be easier. One of the most common things that teachers tell us is that their administrators need to support them more. Teachers say they want administrators to understand the challenges they face in the classroom and offer more guidance or help when needed.
- Opportunity to take risks without fear of failure. Teachers need to be able to take risks without the fear of failure. If a teacher tries something new and it doesn't work, they must be able to try again, without fear of being punished or demoted for their efforts.
This is one thing that makes teaching so difficult: you have limited power over your own classroom. Teachers cannot make changes in their classrooms without talking with administrators first, who often don't have time to talk about it because they are too busy dealing with other teachers' needs. So when a teacher wants something changed in their classroom, they must first convince an administrator that it's necessary. This can be extremely stressful because many administrators want students tested on standard curriculum rather than anything else that might not be on standardized tests.
- Collaboration Time. Teachers need to be able to collaborate with each other. They need to be able to collaborate with other teachers from other schools. They need to be able to collaborate with students, parents and other professionals who are not in the classroom but have an interest in education (such as a principal).
- Professional autonomy. Teachers want to be able to make decisions about their own classrooms, without outside influence. They also want to be able to choose the methods of teaching that best suit their students. This can mean using a specific textbook or curriculum, developing lesson plans on their own time, choosing classroom supplies and materials that are useful for the students’ education (such as calculators), allowing kids who aren't reading yet access to technology in order for them not feel left out when others are learning how write sentences or read books, and so much more!