Melissa Martinez

Critical Analysis # 1

Melissa Martinez
Critical Analysis # 1

Keeping Teacher’s Teaching

Problem: New Teachers, Teacher attrition and the hardship on students

Like many professions, teachers don’t expect to walk into a classroom and know it all. There are many different factors that makeup how a classroom runs and how a teacher teaches such as curriculum, classroom management, the administration, colleagues, and parents. These days the expectations though are taking a toll on many of the nation’s teachers especially new ones, thus a huge turnover in teachers.
This problem can affect teachers, principals, and students. Using George Posner’s frames this problem falls under may of the frames. Teacher attrition can affect the temporal frame as it takes time to hire candidates to replace those who are leaving. Sometimes administrators are in a crunch to hire new staff and don’t give time to think about how the person will fit in the school’s current community. It affects the organizational frame because a school does not have time to develop that community if they are always having to hire new staff. It is important to have good school climate and teacher morale since it is a huge benefit to students and their achievement. Political and Legal Frames are also impacted by teacher attrition. With standardized testing being at the forefront of how to base a school, new teachers are coming in with a lot on their plate. Not only do they have to learn classroom management skills, curriculum he school environment, and their students, they are expected to take the standards and test them well.
Weimer (2011) writes that many novice teachers are unprepared to deal with the daily demands of teaching and they are easily frustrated and overwhelmed. With the lack of support these teachers feel, they decide to leave their career, many within the first 5 years.
Some ways that I think would help attrition especially for those in their first 5 years of teaching is to develop a national mentoring program that all schools must adhere to when hiring new teachers. I also feel that colleges should extend the student teaching aspect of their degree program, to give teachers a year long experience of the working classroom. A 16 week student teaching experience can hardly prepare you for a whole year. Administrators should also take an active part in looking at the school climate and morale of their staff, and trouble shooting areas that may be of concern.

References
Weimer, K. R. (2011). A survey of mentoring programs for novice K-12 teachers in West Virginia publicschools. Visions of Research in Music Education, 18. Retrieved from http://wwwusr.rider.edu/vrme~/


Critical Analysis # 2
Melissa Martinez

Critical Analysis # 2

Happy Teacher equals Successful Students

“Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.” Quote by Haim Ginott

The above quote by Haim Ginott is a good analogy for the work of a teacher. Unfortunately, the current state of education and the high demands of the profession is starting to affect teacher morale in the workplace. Research has suggested that when teacher morale is low, student achievement starts to suffer. MacNeil, Prater and Bush (2009) stated that highly motivated teachers have a greater success in student outcomes and performance. In a recently published survey by Metlife, teacher job satisfaction is at 44%. This is a decrease of 15 points since 2009, and is at its lowest percentage in 20 years (Metlife, 2012). So what is the reason behind the decline in teacher morale? Is it the high expectations and demands of standardized testing, poor leadership, the lack of parental involvement, or the time needed to collaborate with others in the field? Many researchers believe it is a combination of all of these issues and that without change; great teachers are going to leave the education field and where will that leave our kids?

So how do some of the above issues affect teacher morale and student achievement? What can be done to change them? Let’s start by looking at standardized testing. The pressure to make sure that students perform to a proficient level has become a stress factor for many educators. Teachers lack the time and the materials to teach what students need to know so they use a lot of drill and kill methods. For the students this means the lack of creativity in the classroom and missing the opportunity to explore what they are interested in. The simple answer to this dilemma would be to end standardized testing and allow teachers to foster critical thinking by the means of projects.

Another issue facing teacher morale and student achievement is poor administrative leadership. When the leadership is poor in a school there is no sense of community. There may be a lack of consistency with regards to the staff and the students. In Rowland’s (2008) study on leadership and teacher morale, his findings indicated that while principals may not be in the classroom, their influence on teacher morale, indirectly affects student test scores. Rowland (2008) also mentions how principals need to self-assess their practice and how they help or hurt the teacher morale. Teachers need to feel that they are being listened to and heard by their administrators and that they are part of the decision making process.

Parental involvement or the lack of can also bring down teacher morale. Parents who are actively involved in their child’s education and set expectations for their children help encourage what is being done at school. When parents are willing to volunteer and support teachers and their decisions it shows that they are working as a team and not against each other. Communication is the key to keeping this relationship open and building trust.

The last item that can affect teacher morale is the lack of time to collaborate with others in their grade level and in the district. Collaboration can benefit teachers by giving them the time to share their projects and ideas with others. They can discuss what works in the classroom or what doesn’t work. They can plan together and create projects that will foster critical thinking and creativity. To make this an important aspect of community building many school shave started implementing professional learning communities. Professional Learning Communities give both educators and administrators the opportunity to seek out answers and to improve their school. Current research has shown that there are many benefits for teachers such as no longer feeling alone, shared responsibility for student success, and increased commitment to the school goals Professional Learning Communities, 2009).

There are man other factors that may affect teacher morale; the few that were mentioned above are some of the more critical indicators according to the MetLife survey. While many of the changes may seem small they will take time to implement. The goal is that if teachers morale is high, students are learning and achieving more, and isn’t that what education is all about?

Resources:

Bibliography
Macneil, A. J., Prater, D. L., & Busch, S. (2009). The effects of school culture and climate on student achievement. International Journal of Leadership in Education , 73-84.
MetLife, Inc. . (2012). Teachers, Parents, and the Economy.
Professional Learning Communities. (2009). Retrieved 6 21, 2012, from The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement: http://www.centerforcsri.org/plc/index.html

Rowland, K.A.( 2008). The relationship of principal leadership and teacher morale. Dissertation Abstracts, International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences 69(2-A): 462.

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