Students Imagine 'Sad, Chaotic' World without Teachers -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- May 5, 2016

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

May 5, 2016  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

ED Celebrates Teachers, Calls to Offer Thanks


In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, ED celebrated teachers far and wide through events held in-house and personalized calls to thousands of teachers, including Alaskan teacher Shgen George whom Secretary King reached by phone during class on Tuesday. King published a thank-you note to teachers calling teaching "the profession that launches every career" and a heartwarming video of kids thanking their teachers for all they do. Tomorrow, ED partners with the College Football Playoff Foundation to celebrate Washington D.C. public school math teachers with a spirited breakfast. 



Two of our Teaching Ambassador Fellows reflected on their year working at ED in entries published on our Homeroom blog this week. JoLisa Hoover, a fourth grade teacher from Leander, Texas, writes about what she has heard from educators around the country invited to ED for topical Teas with Teachers. Matt Presser, an elementary school reading teacher in New Haven, Conn., reread ED's major speeches of the last year and writes that although speeches only accomplish so much, this year ED has said a lot that that teachers would be glad to hear.


National Teacher of the Year Named

Connecticut high school history teacher Jahana Hayes grew up in poverty and became a teen mother. Neither of those facts got in the way of her becoming National Teacher of the Year. Asked what makes her so good at her job, she credits "all the mistakes that I've made. All the things that I've done wrong." She says, "We need to graduate citizens. People who care about their neighbors. This is the nation that I want to see moving forward" (CBS News). In a speech honoring Hayes, President Obama said if his daughters wanted to become teachers, he would tell them: "I could not be prouder of what you're doing" (EdSurge).  


Last Year's Winner Reflects on Her Year

Shanna Peeples gave up her crown as reigning Teacher of the Year this week. Beforehand, though, she reflected on what she learned this year. In an interview with the Deseret News, she touches on topics including technology, Common Core, and teacher morale. 

When asked why college grads aren't going into teaching, she says, "When I've talked to students and asked them why they are choosing other majors, they say they are getting the message that going into teaching means you check your creativity at the door and check your intelligence at the door."

Tears Flow When Asked to Imagine a World Without Teachers

world without teachers video

The filmmakers at the Jubilee Project asked students of all ages to imagine a world without teachers. In this tear-jerker video, you'll hear how important our work is. Without teachers, there would be "chaos," "ignorance," and a world that's "sad because I wouldn't learn anything." As we commemorate Teacher Appreciation Week, spend three minutes watching one of our favorite videos of why teachers matter. And if you've got another couple of minutes, check out this Post-Lesson Interview with teacher Ethan Davis, who like an athlete who just scored a touchdown, answers an eager reporter's questions just moments after stepping away from the front of the classroom. 

She Stood Up When Pilot Asked if a Teacher Was on the Plane

As the plane neared its destination, the pilot announced that he wouldn't be able to land unless all passengers were seated. A little boy was lying in the aisle and refused to move -- until a special education teacher moved in to save the day. She lay down on her stomach facing the boy, comforted him, and got him back in his seat so the plane could land. "I just want people to know that all teachers have these amazing, incredible skills that can be called on in many settings at any time," says special educator Sophie Murphy (Marshall, Sydney Morning Herald). 

Danielson Worries Teacher Evals are Becoming Checklists

In an Education Week editorial, Charlotte Danielson, whose ideas have transformed teacher evaluation systems around the country, calls for replacing the emphasis on "rating" the vast majority of effective teachers with an emphasis on professional learning. She shares her concern with "the transformation of teaching from a complex profession requiring nuanced judgment to the performance of certain behaviors that can be ticked off on a checklist" and offers principles for developing a professional learning system.  

Survey Identifies Teachers' Concerns, Frustrations

teacher view survey

The Center on Education Policy conducted a national survey of public school K-12 teachers that shows how teachers are managing the many changes currently taking place in their schools. The study found that although teachers are drawn to the profession for mostly selfless reasons and are engaged in some positive activities within their own schools, many are concerned or frustrated about aspects of their job including the focus on testing, changing demands from outside the classroom and teachers' perceptions that they lack a voice in major decisions.  

Read Powerful Poetry from 1,000 U.S. Juvenile Detainees

More than 1,000 young poets are vying to win a poetry contest. What sets this contest apart is that applicants to the Words Unlocked contest are all juvenile detainees. Read through their words and you'll see how their words are as powerful and deep as any other young writers. Writes one young poet in Macon, Georgia: "I am a caged up animal / longing for freedom. / I am a boy / a small caterpillar / transforming into a man." (Dwyer, NPR). 


Cute Kids Tell Why Moms Matter

In honor of Mother's Day this weekend, Teachers Edition couldn't resist the opportunity to share cute kids' reflections on why moms matter:

  • "She gives me bandaids when I get hurt." 
  • "My mom's my best friend. My B.F.F."
  • "Even when I'm being bad, she always sees the good in me." 

Herbie Hancock

Music Makes Math, Science Learnable

Legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock joined Secretary King at ED last week for a roundtable discussion of a new website that features free resources for teachers, bringing together the best apps and lessons in math, science and music. Designed for students, kindergarten through college, offers teachers resources and apps to use music as a way to understand other subjects. Hancock, who double-majored in music and electrical engineering at Grinnell College, joined researchers to discuss how music can be better integrated into lessons on math, engineering and even computer science, ahead of International Jazz Day, April 30

Foreign Teachers Come to U.S. to Teach Native Languages

Students at H.D. Cooke Elementary School (Washington, D.C.)  are learning Arabic as part of a State Department-sponsored exchange program that places teachers from China and Egypt in classrooms throughout the United States to teach their native languagesFlora Lerenman, an English-as-a-second-language teacher at Cooke who helped coordinate bringing teachers  to the school, said it has been incredible to see how rapidly both the Spanish- and English-speaking students have picked up on Arabic (Stein, Washington Post).

Resources to Use

What We Heard from Educators This Week


5. "To this day, I can name every teacher I had K-12. Not because I have a great memory but because I had great teachers."
4. "In time, they grow. Some fast, slow slow. Set goals, they reach. I know, #WhyITeach" (Teacher, Minnesota)
3. "Teachers don't speak policy-ese. It's not what we were trained for. It's not where our backgrounds lie. But we still need the opportunity for input" (Teacher, Idaho).
2. [When you're a top teacher], everyone looks at you like, 'What are you going to do next?' We need for districts to incentivize teachers to have pathways that keep people in the classroom" (Teacher, California).
1. "We have to let people of color know, 'There's a place for people like you in teaching.' It's not like there are all these unemployed minority teachers out there" (Teacher, Connecticut).