March 25, 2010 — A new survey out this week details the benefits of collaboration, teacher satisfaction and opportunities for teacher leadership. The third and final part of the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Collaborating for Student Success focuses on teaching as a career and details findings based on surveys of public school teachers, principals and students.
The MetLife survey had a number of major findings, including:
. Career satisfaction levels are high among teachers in suburban and rural schools, while teachers in urban schools are less likely to be very satisfied.
. Highly satisfied teachers tend to have higher expectations for their students. They are less likely to leave the profession and they have stronger views on shared responsibility and collaboration.
. New teachers are often assigned to the most challenging schools with the highest teacher turnover rates.
. “Hybrid roles” are appealing to teachers, offering them the opportunity to teach in the classroom part-time and have other roles in their school or district.
Survey findings reinforce what educators have been saying for years, NEA Vice-president Lily Eskelsen said. Positive working conditions enhance the quality of teaching and learning in all schools. Those conditions come when teachers are given resources, support and opportunities to collaborate and grow.
“We must work to address issues around job satisfaction and turnover rates in high needs schools,” Eskelsen said. “In what other profession are novices assigned the most challenging work, often without adequate resources and support, and expected to flourish?
She added that to have effective teachers in every classroom, there must be adequate induction, mentoring, teacher teams, and professional development.
NEA is working to transform high-needs schools though the Priority Schools Campaign. With the campaign, NEA commits to working with communities and policymakers to pursue innovative programs to measure student success and teacher quality, and to attract and retain the best educators and necessary resources for the schools of greatest need.
“Schools should be like families with a shared sense of responsibility,” Eskelsen said. “You discuss what works and what doesn’t to ensure the success of all students.”
This is where hybrid models can be particularly helpful. As a safeguard against moving the most effective teachers out of the classroom, they can be allowed to teach part of the day and provide instructional leadership at other times.