On respect and trust for teachers

“The teaching profession needs two things in order to thrive—respect and trust. The two go together. You can say nice words and be grateful to teachers, but if you do not trust them as professionals, you are not showing them respect. Trust means giving teachers (appropriate) autonomy in their classrooms, but it also means giving them influence over policy—real influence, not a few token teachers on some committee—and it means giving them control over their own professional growth. We need to stop fixing teachers and create environments in which teachers themselves fix their own profession. We need to trust them to do so.

“Will some teachers abuse that trust? Of course. That happens in every profession. We can deal with it. Far more will not, however, and on balance education will be greatly improved for everyone, and most especially for the students.”

John Ewing, president of Math for America

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