Each Spring I look forward to the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher—it-s a valuable tool that all of us a Teaching Channel pay attention to each year because the MetLife Foundation is gathering important information from a large sample of teachers across America. (The newly released survey queried 1,000 K-12 public school teachers in Fall 2012).
The headline from this latest survey is a little disheartening:
Teacher job satisfaction is at an all-time low, with just 39% saying they are ‘very satisfied’ with their jobs.
Looking more deeply at the survey, there seem to be three reasons for this:
- Heightened expectations for teachers
- Budget reductions
- Reductions in opportunities for PD and collaboration
While heightened expectations seem a more universal reason for dissatisfaction, what stands out for me is this: More than half of those who are dissatisfied work in schools where teachers reported that professional development and collaboration with other teachers had declined in the past 12 months.
There is no question that the high percentage of dissatisfied teachers is a legitimate cause for concern. But, it does make those of us at Teaching Channel feel good about what we are doing. We believe that Tch is working to create the conditions in PD that will lift teachers’ spirits and increase their professional capacity to engage kids and support their stronger performance.
We are building opportunities to collaborate around videos of great teaching. We believe we can help teachers sharpen their collective view of the myriad ways in which a given teacher might approach difficult subject matter or the heightened expectations in the Common Core State Standards.
Our members can collaborate online by annotating Tch videos to build an evidence-based conversation among colleagues and can invite others to add their annotations.
We recently added a Q&A feature—which allows teachers to tap into the collective wisdom of our 200,00+ membership.
We’ve also created an on-going series that focuses on Common Core basics, so teachers can become more familiar with the standards and be less apprehensive about integrating the Core into their classrooms.
Since Tch is free to all teachers around the country, our resources can help to provide new PD and collaboration material in light of recent budget cuts. Further, Tch provides teachers in the poorest schools with the same support materials that teachers in the wealthiest schools have, creating a more equitable opportunity for teachers regardless of the financial circumstances of the districts in which they work.
I’ve been working in education for more than 30 years, and one I thing am certain of is that teachers are resourceful. Our hope is that our resources will fill the gaps for many teachers across the country who are feeling disheartened by lack of opportunities to grow and learn and collaborate.