“Teacher working conditions are student learning conditions” – a quick Google search didn’t turn up the source for this quote, but I’ve heard it for years. It’s one of those simple yet profound statements that sums up interconnectedness, yet vast difference between teaching and learning. “Managing” these conditions on either side without the core involvement of the teacher or the student is just impossible.
In this new report, Transforming School Conditions, 14 accomplished teachers from urban districts around the country merge their own experience in high-needs schools with the best current education research, to discuss conditions that are are needed for teachers to teach all students effectively. Their recommendations for school policy and practice offer a guide to developing systems of support for meaningful and sustainable school reform.
Their recommendations highlight the need for any reforms in teaching to come with a high degree of involvement of the affected teachers — not to be delivered from the top down, outside in, or by an imaginary superhero. The changes have to come from those “at the coalface,” as they say in Australia, meaning those who are in the trenches doing the real work.
Bill Ferriter provides a summary and perspective on this report if you don’t have time to read the whole thing (but you should!)