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Jen Robinson | Current Affairs, Education, Teacher Leadership, Web/Tech | October 15, 2014

Connected Educator Month

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10649556_651183781644659_2820342266413046468_nDid you know that October was “Connected Educator Month”? On Saturday in an effort to avoid the work I initially sat down to complete I decided to look into this Connected Educator thing a bit closer. I initially came across it while reading through Facebook posts and happening upon a post from Edutopia. I have to be completely honest, my technology skills are very limited to say the least. I have a twitter account, but very rarely tweet unless I am at a conference or in a low risk arena where I have immediate support to trouble shoot my errors. I connect with friends and educators on Facebook and even find myself immersed in Pinterest from time to time. I read and respond to blogs, but not nearly as much as I could or should. So my thinking is this resource might just help me step out into the world of social media in a way that could positively impact teaching and learning on my campus.

At first glance the site is very user friendly and creates a safe space for those of us who are “developing” our technology skills. One feature that I found helpful was the supporter toolkit, which simply provides the basics of what Connected Educator Month (CEM)is.

CEM provides you with opportunities to learn how to be more proficient with social media to improve your practice. Originally it was developed by the U.S. Department of Education and it’s partners as part of the Connected Educator Initiative. CEM offers highly distributed, diverse, and engaging activities to educators at all levels. Based on its success over the past few years, the initiative is predicting to reach even more educators in 2014, through expanded partnerships and enhanced programming.

The goals of CEM include: 1. Getting more educators proficient with social media to improve their practice. 2. Deepening and sustaining learning among those already enjoying connection’s benefits. 3. Helping schools credential/integrate connected learning into their formal professional development efforts. 4. Stimulating and supporting innovation in the field.

Once on the website you will find each day in October is filled with online activities to get you started on your journey as a connected educator and learner. Topics range from video conferences on virtual learning to the principal’s role in supporting educator collaboration, improving professional development to webinar’s in story telling, and twitter chats on digital learning, education around the world and equity in a digital age. The opportunities cover a broad spectrum of relevant and compelling topics for teachers, teacher leaders, administrators, and educators in general. Join me in learning more about being a connected educator.

I invite you to share your thoughts on Connected Educator and how you might use it to push your practice forward? 

John Spencer | Education Policy, Life in the Classroom | October 14, 2014

I Don't Use Rewards -- But My School Does

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When I set up my classroom as a first-year teacher, I created a daily game system where students would compete Jeopardy-style, for intellectual dominance. The winning groups would receive candy bars. I also added a Spencer Store, with photocopied artificial money bearing my face (think Shrute Bucks from The Office) and a dollar amount. I also created a PAT time system that Fred Jones had recommended.

It worked. For a week. Then kids started complaining that the game wasn't fun and that the candy bars weren't enough. So, I upped the ante a little. The students were right. Fun size candy bars? Two bites and they were gone. What's the fun in that?

So, I moved to full-size bars and eventually king-sized candy bars. PAT time failed, too, because it made more sense to be disruptive for a full hour than to behave in boredom for two days before earning twenty minutes of free-time.

Finally, the Spencer Store had a sudden inflation problem, as students engaged in counterfeiting and began trading services for Spencer Cash. It wasn't that the system had failed. I had created extrinsic rewards based upon economic norms and the students, for their part, had become excellent consumers. They gamed the system so that they could do as little possible for the biggest reward.

It had me thinking about the world's greatest teachers. None of them used rewards. Socrates didn't pass out pizza coupons (or perhaps pita coupons). Jesus didn't offer to turn water into wine if his disciples would just stop squabbling and start getting along for the next ten minutes. Instead, they were motivated by purpose, meaning, creativity, and fun.

I mention this because my son came home with a packet explaining his school's behavioral management system, filled with PAT time and Roadrunner dollars and cards that you pull if you're bad (creating a literal scarlet letter right next to the board if you suck at sitting still and keeping your mouth shut). The letter implored us to participate in a similar system at home.

Why Rewards Fail

The following are a few reasons why rewards fail:

  1. Students cheat, because they are working from economic rather than social norms.
  2. Students no longer cooperate, because they are in a competitive behavioral system.
  3. Students become risk-averse.
  4. Students learn that it's more about following the rules than doing what is right.
  5. Students lose the desire to learn.
  6. Students see behavior as something externally managed.
  7. Students lose out on a chance to think ethically about their actions.

A Different Approach

So here I am, over a decade into teaching. I don't give PAT points or cards or stickers. I have no special Treasure Chest where students can pick out a toy if they have done well. I don’t hand out pizza coupons for great readers and I don’t believe that field trips should only be meant for the best-behaved kids.

Instead, I use a relational approach to build a community. I treat behavioral issues as learning opportunities, both for the student and for myself (often behavioral issues are due to bad instruction). The following is how I would summarize my approach:

Beforehand:

  • Have clear procedures
  • Communicate my expectations
  • Make sure the lessons are meaningful and engaging
  • Offer the right scaffolding for students who are struggling
  • Pay attention to the pace of the lesson

In the Moment:

  • Utilize space proximity
  • Use eye contact
  • Gently pull a student aside to remind him or her of expectations

After an Incident:

  • Have a reflective conversation with the student
  • Create a plan of what the student can do next time

The results of this approach is that the class tends to be well-behaved. There are moments when I’ve gotten impatient. There are times when kids screw up. However, when those things occur, I handle it relationally and personally rather than passing out makeshift Shrute Bucks. I haven’t written a referral in almost two years. Most of my parent phone calls are positive comments about the work I am seeing.

So, here’s the problem: We are now doing PBIS at our school. We are required to pass out our version of Shrute Bucks. The schoolwide system runs counter to everything I believe about behavior and motivation. What’s the solution? How should I handle the conflict between what I believe to be best for kids and what I am asked to do as a member of the faculty?

Christine Porter Marsh | October 12, 2014

"Losing to win"...

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It seems to me that one of the biggest lessons that guest-speakers want to pass on to my students is to follow their own passions. For the past year, many politicians and political candidates have visited my classes, and that “follow your passion” theme has recurred a lot.

I suppose it makes sense, because not many people probably want to subject themselves to the brutality of campaigning, unless public service is a true passion. I don’t think that’s always the case, by the way: I think that there are probably many politicians who got into “public service” in order to serve themselves, not the public. It’s just that those types of politicians generally don’t agree to visit Ms. Marsh’s classes; we mostly have the “I want to be a public servant” type of politicians.

Thus, my students have heard from numerous adults the importance of following their passions, of finding what they really want to do with their lives.

It’s been an unexpected blessing of having politicians in class.

On Thursday, we had a truly inspiring candidate. She talked about a few political races that she’s been in when she knew that her chances of winning were very slim. She entered these races anyway, though, so that “We the People” would have a choice and so that the opposing candidates would have to debate all the way through the general election (instead of only having to run a campaign through the primary). By doing this, she raised the level of discourse and awareness. A different candidate talked about how the election cycle is really just a long-term job interview, so having debates and conversations with and about candidates becomes a very important part of the process.

My students and I both thought it was so inspiring that Thursday’s candidate sometimes has to “lose in order to win.”  The next day, my students and I talked about that concept and how being part of something—and losing—may actually be incredibly beneficial and may result in winning. It’s a paradox, I know, but it resonated with my students. They “got” it.

In this society which focuses so often on winning at all costs, it was refreshing to have a respected adult talk to my students about the value of losing, about the gains that may result from simply trying something—even if it might technically end up in loss.

When we read To Kill a Mockingbird, they will see this theme again, as they witness Atticus fight a battle that he knows he won’t win. He has to fight it, though: Tom Robinson needs him to, as does the town itself.

I hope it’s a lesson that the students take with them throughout their lives. Sometimes, we have to fight battles that we know we will lose. Sometimes, the value is in the fighting, not in the outcome. Sometimes, following one's passion may result in "losing." But it's really winning. 

 

 

Jess Ledbetter | October 10, 2014

Teacher wellness: On the decline?

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Want to know what I’ve been wondering about lately? I want to know if teacher health/wellness is declining amidst the pressure of educational reform today. A few days ago, I was walking behind a colleague and noticed that this person had gained some weight. It was nothing major--just something I observed. The observation prompted personal reflection. I thought about the changes in my own health and wellness over the past few years: the smaller clothes (now at the back of the closet), the infrequent trips to the gym, the lack of sleep, the quick meals on my way home when I’m wiped out, and the rare opportunities to actually EAT during my “lunch break” (a.k.a. more work time)! Being a teacher today is CHAOTIC! Though some of my colleagues sweat out their stress at the gym regularly, I am experiencing waning commitment to healthy outlets for releasing stress. This week, I’ve been wondering: Is it harder for teachers to find time for health and wellness given the many aspects of their jobs today?

My gut tells me: YES. I think the educational climate of “reform,” accountability, and the multi-faceted nature of the job keep educators busy long before and after the school bells. Finding balance is incredibly challenging in education today because there is a lot to do! Some SfS bloggers have offered great examples in recent posts below. I see it in my own practice, too. Every time I turn around, there seems to be a new initiative to connect with families, another way to track/report student progress, a new committee/club looking for teacher volunteers, another meeting to attend, a new form to fill out, another grant to submit for classroom supplies, and more items on the staff meeting agenda afterschool. Is this the price of being a “teacher?” I only seem to think about my health and wellness when I get to a breaking point, like when I get really sick or find myself completely exhausted. Otherwise, it’s ‘boots on the ground’ go, go, go, go, GO! Teachers are world changers, and we don’t like to stop and think about ourselves. How does that affect our health when there are so many things to do as a teacher today?

To take this further, serving as a teacher-leader adds additional responsibilities. I believe that teacher-leadership is essential in the profession, but it takes a huge toll. Every time I turn around, there is another training to plan, another teacher with a (great!) question, or a new resource I’d like to create. Of course, these duties come on top of my commitment to being an excellent teacher for my students. Good teachers who are also teacher-leaders are BUSY! Is this the price of “teacher leadership?” I can’t possibly count the Red Bulls that have kept me going with energy and enthusiasm despite very little sleep. But I’ll stop there with this one. Teacher leadership is worth it.

How does all of this affect the health and wellness of teachers? In a profession with high levels of attrition, could teachers be leaving because the stress/wellness issues are overwhelming with limited time for improvement? Additionally, declining health and wellness would be a serious concern for school districts that are self-insured. This past year, I heard about a local school district that increased employee healthcare contributions (what teachers pay to the district) by $700! A representative from that district said, “Employees need to get healthier to keep the cost down.” Talk about a double-edged sword. This profession requires more hours than other fields of work. Worse yet, many other fields have accepted long hours as common practice in the American workplace. I’d like to go on the record here: I don’t think that long work hours are good for health and wellness at all.

So what does the research say? I checked out keywords including: teacher, declining, health, and wellness in various combinations using Google News and Google Scholar. Unfortunately, there was nothing specific to teachers and their health/wellness. So does this mean that teacher health and wellness is not declining? Or does it mean that no one is asking questions or studying this topic? Sorry to say: I don’t have the answers there. But I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you think that teacher health and wellness are declining in education today? What other research/news do you think relates to this topic?

When you’re ready to share your thoughts, come and find me. I hope I’ll be at the gym.

Jen Robinson | October 8, 2014

Reset

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Gg54905816The past ten weeks have slipped away, some days blurry, others skipped by very purposefully, others were over before they started and a few seemed longed than they should have been. But, this week a calm has washed over our campus – fall break. As I move between tasks I am content, my thoughts are clear, I am focused on the sound of the maintenance team sanding our outside doors preparing for new paint. All week there has been a flitter of activity on campus with teams doing one thing or another, replacing ceiling tiles, ripping up and tacking down new carpet or resealing the floor in our multipurpose room. I am excited for the return of students, staff and parents next week. However, this quiet time was much needed. Not only for myself, for teachers, staff, students and parents– a time to rejuvenate and rest, a time to reflect and refocus.

A few teachers were in and out preparing for the week that awaits them after break. Parents stopped by to withdraw or enroll students. I don’t want to lose kids, but I also understand that sometimes life happens and families have to move on. That said we will always have new students and parents join our family.  That’s just the way it happens. Some months more, others less, we have come to know it as part of who we are, a constant flow of new students in and familiar faces leaving. I wonder who will move on and who will join us?

I love coming into school over break and listening to the building. I know it sounds quirky, but during the school day, it is too easy to get caught up in walk-throughs and evaluations, meetings and professional development, breakfast, lunch and duties, arrival and dismissal, analyzing assessment data and facilitating grade level plc’s, observing student behavior and meeting with parents. Time over break gives me a chance to walk around the playground, swing on the swings, slowly walk down the dark hallways, and gaze into empty classrooms reflecting on teaching and learning. I see students engaged in learning and working in groups to solve problems. I hear teachers refocusing students and asking questions pushing them to explain their thinking. I feel fortunate to get to do this work and do it along side amazing people who put children first and do what it takes to achieve greatness. It is a time for me to reflect on teaching and learning, on student and teacher growth and goals. It is a time to re-evaluate the past ten weeks with a clear mind and an open heart, looking ahead with eyes wide open, preparing for what lies ahead in the next ten weeks.

When you have a break, in what ways do you rejuvenate and rest, reflect and refocus? How do you reset?

Donnie Dicus | October 7, 2014

When is Enough, Enough?

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"Ugh not another test!" That was one of the first things one of my students said to me this morning. In my head, I thought, "You ain't kidding, kid!" Out loud though, I exclaimed, "This isn't a test, it's an opportunity to show your learning." I felt that student perfectly illustrated the frustration with the focus on tests right now in education in America.

Last year, I began teaching a third grade SEI class in a new district. My first week at this school and I was giving my kids a pre-test which lasted 4 days. I gave that same assessment 4 more times last year at the end of each quarter. I also gave my students a state required language test which lasted three days. Immediately after that test, I administered the mother of all tests for third graders; AIMS which lasted nearly a week. As a teacher, I know it's a struggle to include any form of instruction on testing days or testing weeks. Students are burnt out and tired. They need stress free activities those days. That being said, my students used 7 weeks of school for testing purposes and that doesn't include typical classroom assessments.

7 weeks is nearly a full quarter of the year. If you think about a student in my class over the course of his education from kindergarten to 12th grade, he will test 91 weeks on this schedule. That is 22 months or nearly 2 and a half years worth of grade levels (With the assumption that an academic year is 9 months).  How much academic growth could have happened in this student in those 2 and a half years?!

I am grateful that my district re-evaluated their testing requirements. Instead of 5 district assessments, we only do 4 and instead of 4 days, they only last two days. Therefore this year, I will be able reclaim nearly two weeks of instruction time. Over time this amounts to 5 months more of instruction for my students.

I know assessments are important and useful to measure growth of students and also the effectiveness of a teacher, a school, a strategy, or a curriculum. We couldn't do our job without assessments.  However, is that data worth the loss of significant amounts of  instruction time? Are there more effective ways to administer a test or even better assessments to minimize the loss of instruction time? Could we find ways to share assessments that can show similar growth for multiple purposes? Are students in school to be assessed or to learn? My district is asking these questions but shouldn't more leaders in education be asking these as well? How much testing is too much? When is enough, enough?

Christine Porter Marsh | Assessment, Education, Education Policy, Life in the Classroom, Mentoring | October 6, 2014

#Evaluate That!

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This week, three students asked me if I would write letters of recommendation for them to submit to their prospective colleges.

I answered with, “I’d be honored to do that,” which is what I usually say—and mean it. It is an honor to help them fulfill their dreams. It’s one of the reasons that I love teaching: I get to facilitate them on their journey toward adulthood, toward reaching their goals, toward becoming the future leaders of this society.

This week, alone, I spent four hours on college recommendation letters. I finished five of them in that amount of time. I have roughly 30 to write before November 1st, and I spent about three hours on them last week, as well. This will happen on a weekly basis until I am finished, which will have to occur in the next 28 days.

This week, I also spent roughly an hour proofreading some of my students’ college entrance essays. That, for me, is hard. I know that I will not be doing them any favors if I am not brutally honest, with an emphasis on brutal. What good does it do a student to submit an essay that’s not just this side of perfect? I almost made a boy cry this week. He brought me a college entrance essay about which he was quite proud, but it was bland, even boring, and I had to tell him that. I couldn’t face myself if he turned in a bland essay and potentially got rejected from the college of his choice because of it. (By the way, the student gave me a new copy on Wednesday, and it was beautiful; he thanked me for being so harsh…I mean he was truly grateful and actually used those words: “Thanks for being harsh with me, Ms. Marsh, because I think my new draft is much better.”

So what’s the point of all of this?

In this age of accountability and the push to evaluate teachers on their students’ test scores, I think it’s incumbent on the public and politicians to understand at least some of the things that teachers do for which they will never be evaluated—and some of these things are time-consuming and require serious concentration. Trust me, I can’t proofread a student’s college entrance essay with TV on in the background, or sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, or while my cat is trying to get my attention for some affection.

The focus on teacher accountability is concerning, because there is so much that teachers do that cannot be evaluated, but they’re still valuable. My students will collectively pull in literally hundreds of thousands of scholarship money, and at least some of that money will have a direct link to a teacher—whether it’s through extra tutoring for PSAT testing, or proofreading essays, or writing recommendation letters. Some of what we teachers do will have a direct impact on financial gain for students and their families.

On Wednesday, my staff had an in-service presented by “Not My Kid,” which is a group that provides education and resources for families (and teachers) of children who are facing substance abuse issues, bullying, depression, and suicide attempts.

This particular in-service focused on depression and suicide and what teachers can do to help at-risk students. 

It focused on how teachers need to be aware, observant, and willing to act if they see a potential problem. We were given resources and warning signs and ways in which we can legally and ethically intervene on behalf of a child for whom we have concern.

I take that role—as somewhat of a watchdog for students—very seriously. With 38 students in a class (and high school teachers have five classes), I question a teacher’s ability to be vigilantly observant, but that’s an issue for another blog. I can only hope that I would notice any behavior changes in my students who may be at-risk, and I’m sure almost all teachers feel that way.

These things can’t be evaluated, though. Nor should they be. Do the stakeholders in education know these things? Do they understand how much goes into guiding these kids successfully through their careers than can be evaluated by a test or an administrator?

I don’t think they do. And they need to. 

 

Greg Broberg | October 4, 2014

Teacher Leaders "Reform"

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I recently participated in an amazing Twitter chat with Patrick Riccards (@Eduflack).  The topic related to educational reform.  The most significant take-away from this chat was the subtle reminder that as teacher leaders we need to take responsibility for “re-forming” the work we do.   This is probably easier said than done considering the focus on teacher evaluation, standardized testing and the Common Core State Standards.  However, I had to remind myself that the word “reform” means: the improvement of something that is wrong.  With this in mind I was quickly able to think of things that I do or can do to “reform” my teaching and the lives of my students in my classroom.

Focus on amazing learning experiences:  Recently I have blogged about one of the bane of our existences in education – time.  I feel like I never have enough.  However, I have recently begun speaking out to those things that take time away from my planning and reflection.  In other words, saying “no” or “not now” to meetings or supposed emergencies.  As professionals (or teacher leaders) we need to model the practice of time management.  It is never easy to say “no”, however, if our focus is to serve the needs of students there are times when we have to create boundaries in what can and should be done.  A primary outcome from our professional learning communities (PLC) should be focused, change management.   At the heart of this outcome are the learning experiences we deliver to students. 

Asking students for their thoughts:  I am always amazed at the ideas that my students come up with in order to better the work I do.  I just don’t ask them often enough.  Having just finished my first quarter I made it a priority to take an entire class period dedicated to student reflection.  I asked my students to look at and reflect on the work they have done, and most importantly what they thought I needed to do to support their personal learning goals.  Not surprisingly, some of my students filled two pages with written thoughts outlining their accomplishments and lists of things that I can do to support their second quarter goals.

Never underestimate the “small” things that lead to student achievement:   When people discuss educational reform it seems to be framed around large-scale improvement – the new Common Core standards or teacher evaluation processes.  The problem with this mindset is that it tends to distract us from the things that we do every day to improve student achievement.  I recently experienced an example of this when two of my students came up to me to tell me that the writing they were turning in “was the best writing they had ever done”.   Isn’t this the real definition of student achievement? 

I am certain that others could add to my list of “reforms” that take place every day in our classrooms.  As teacher leaders part of our job is to help our colleagues envision the power they have in true “reform”.

* For more details related to the Twitter chat with Patrick Riccards go to #azk12chat.

Greg Broberg | September 28, 2014

Saying "No" To Another Meeting

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The issue of “time” in terms of my professional learning community (PLC) has become very important to me lately.  As I deal with the implementation of the Common Core and ongoing teacher evaluation efforts I have become more aware of situations that try to “nip away” at this precious commodity.  There are weeks where I feel that much of my planning time has slipped away in support of emergency IEP, intervention or parent meetings.  Some of these are inevitable, but I notice my colleagues bristle when I ask the question, “Why are we having another meeting?”   I worry that we have forgotten one of the key tenants of the PLC: norms.

I am part of an amazing PLC and one thing I appreciate is that the process is built on establishing and maintaining professional norms.  As a National Board teacher I consider any norms related to time critical.  Without this time my ability to prepare engaging lessons and reflect on my practice is at risk – which in turn places my students at risk academically.  Over the years my teammates have adjusted our norms.  However, as you can see from the list of my current norms time always gets primary attention.

Time: We will meet weekly for an hour on Tuesday - 1st Period.

Listening: We will have a single team where everyone has an opportunity to speak

Decision Making: We acknowledge that the best decision making is through consensus; therefore we will achieve 90% of our decisions in this manner

Participation: We have an expectation that 90% of our meeting will be inclusive of all team members

Expectations: We will have a focus question for each meeting.  Active participation is expected from all team members.  Meetings will focus on three areas: 1) student data (assessment), 2) curriculum alignment with student learning goals, and 3) administration issues

Student Achievement: a time will be dedicated to discuss student accomplishments and those needing our support

As teacher leaders I see it as our primary function to remind colleagues (and guide new teachers) in negotiating the time we are given.  This negotiation can sometimes create conflict when another person does not get what they want.  However, taking people back to PLC norms is the way to solve this.  Here are some tips that I use when confronted with an unexpected time intrusion:

  1. Always have agendas for meetings (this is something that our district has mandated in our PLCs and it has made an amazing impact on time (keeping on schedule and on-task).
  2. Acknowledge the importance associated with the request (i.e. IEP meeting) and ask that it be given preference in your next team meeting.  Remember – once a week team or content area planning is meant for any student achievement issue.  This includes IEP, intervention and parent meetings.  The key is ensuring that all staff members (psychologists, social workers, etc.) understand where their requests fit into team norms.
  3. Ask if the issue could be addressed through an EMAIL exchange.
  4. It is easy to lose track of upcoming events (i.e. parent-teacher conferences) which can turn into an emergency meeting.  Try to get team members to allow 5 minutes in an agenda item to consider events that are coming up within the next four weeks.
  5. If none of the above work, then you may have to use professional discretion and simply state that your planning time is not available.  In other words, say “no” to a meeting.  I often times seek the support of an administrator to assist in negotiating these situations – using a review of our PLC norms and if necessary asking for time to be given from some other time slot (staff meeting, etc.).

Allowing for continuous intrusion into our planning time (or worse, our personal time) not only diminishes the effectiveness of PLC’s but also risks our personal wellness.  If we hope to be mindful in the work that we do then we need to respect our time and the time of our colleagues.  PLC norms are one way to accomplish this.

Mike Lee | Current Affairs, Education, Education Policy, National Board Certification, Professional Development | September 27, 2014

Can Teaching Follow Medicine's Prescription?

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TEachers pic
Ron Thorpe recently published a provocative pie
ce in Phi Delta Kappan where he outlined key components for a plan to fully professionalize teaching in America. His proposals are highlighted by extended residencies for preservice teachers, and a pathway that leads all educators towards advanced certification. Personally, I believe that he makes a highly convincing case about what is missing in our field. Subsequently, Gallup released a powerful poll that showed overwhelming public sentiment for advanced certification for educators, much like what is found in the medical and legal fields. At nearly 80% support, it’s as close to a mandate as we are likely to see in any public opinion poll.   
 
These days, you’re likely to get a 50/50 split if you ask respondents if wheels should be round.  
 
As someone who believes passionately in the power of teachers, and has witnessed talent and dedication well above a five-figure pay grade, I believe that our failure to fully professionalize the field is what prevents those teachers from what they deserve: true respect, professional support, and fair compensationUnfortunately, the echoes of some of the social media chatter surrounding the aforementioned articles and polls represent our problem in advancing the field and, if the sentiment is allowed to prevail, will guarantee that teachers continue to be undervalued and underappreciated for yet another generation.   
 
Predictably, counters to the suggestion of residency and advanced certification always include the question, “Does that mean we’re going to get paid like a doctor or a lawyer?”  I am assuming the question to be rhetorical, and it always contains just a hint of sarcasm. However, my response does not. 
 
Well, yes. But, it may depend on what you mean by “we.” 
 
Mr. Thorpe effectively outlines the parallels to the medical field, and although there are certainly  differences in the career paths that are intrinsic to the two professions, one significant constant was the lack of pay and respect that was once afforded to doctors. To point, it was not uncommon for doctors to be part-time physicians and part-time barbers, out of the same office, in order to make ends meet. 
 
But doctors decided to change it.  They didn’t get the respect they wanted by asking for it; they demanded it through the expertise and excellence that they required of themselves. They seized control of their profession by professionalizing it themselves. They raised the bar. They held each other accountable. They decided their professional associations. 
 
After all, it’s pretty basic supply and demand situation. If anybody can do what you’re doing, then you are going to get paid - and treated - like just anybody else. Can anybody be a doctor? I would argue that not anyone can be an outstanding teacher. The problem is that we allow plenty of space in our profession for those that are not. And, we pay for it. 
 
Or, more accurately, we don’t get paid for it. 
 
Doctors voluntarily shunned mediocrity and poor practice, by being sure not anyone could be a doctor. They started performing at a level that not just anyone could attain through rigorous standards created not by outsiders, government officials, or the public, but by themselves. Their current status is largely based upon the public’s response to those efforts. 
 
I’ve evaluated the best of the best and no, not anyone can do it. To be honest, I know some doctors who couldn’t replicate some of the talent, intellect, and skill I’ve seen demonstrated in classrooms. 
 
But, back to the question of whether “we” will get paid more.  
 
This kind of change does take time. “We” may not. Obviously, the parallels between the fields are far more sophisticated than I am portraying in this post, but I believe we can change the course of the profession by drawing on what is congruent. It is often said that MLK felt strongly that he would not witness the results of the Civil Rights Movement. An overwhelming majority of those that struggled for the same cause indeed, did not. He advocated for those who were to come after, in essence dedicating his life for rights he would never receive.  
 
History is rife with examples of great people doing noble and foresighted things for a movement - not necessarily for personal gain - so that someday, someone would get the respect, pay, or treatment he or she deserved. They did it with a sense of moral purpose. Teachers often tell me how they believe in their students, so I propose believing in the ones who are going to follow in our footsteps, the ones who will want to become teachers. 
 
The ones we need to become teachers. 
 
Many of the doctors Mr.Thorpe described never saw six figure salaries, luxuries, or the status enjoyed by physicians today. However, they were rich enough in professional spirit to advance the cause of medicine as a career. They consciously raised the bar on themselves, because they knew that the later iteration of physicians would be the only ones capable of clearing it. In essence, they created a profession where nearly all are elite.    
 
Society responded. It had no choice, because not anyone can be a doctor.  
 
We know what it would take so that not anyone could be a teacher. Are we willing to do it? If not, then settle in for more of the same. 
 
And, believe me when I say that our kids will not thank us for it.