Five years. That’s the average length of time today’s teachers last in the classroom. There are many reasons, but there is something that can be done to stop it. According to University of Pennsylvania’s professor, Dr. Richard Ingersoll, schools that give teachers more authority in the classroom AND in the schoolhouse keep their teachers longer. Why? Teachers want a Voice. Since they are the number one contributor to student success, as research suggests, they should be given that Voice.
One way to do that is to implement a system of leadership and learning in the schoolhouse. We use the Relational Leadership model that implements learning and leading that is not ADDED onto teachers’ responsibilities but are weaved into their daily school life in ways that free them to lead, follow and learn while they teach.
Respectful leadership requires learning, and respectful learning requires plenty of time, resources and humanistic approaches. Just as our students observe nature and art masterpieces in Nature and Picture Studies, our teachers observe each other teach and dialogue in Japan’s Lesson Studies. Teachers also partner with each other to reflect on their practices in the classroom, holding each other accountable for growth.
In October 2009, the Washington Post noted, “At Marie Reed, math scores on the District’s Comprehensive Assessment System standardized test have risen substantially since teachers began practicing lesson study: Proficiency rates have more than doubled since 2007 to 74 percent.”