The most recent MetLife installment, Teaching as a Career, captures teachers' thinking about their profession at a critical moment in the history of public education in America, as hundreds of thousands of Baby Boomers approach retirement and a new, very different generation of teachers and potential teachers enters the New Millennium workforce.
One intriguing finding – among many – is that hybrid teaching roles are particularly appealing to new teachers and those who are less than “very satisfied” with their teaching careers today. This concept of hybrid teaching roles is discussed in the recent CTQ monograph The Teachers of 2030 and in even more depth in an upcoming book from Teachers College Press by a team of teachers in the Teacher Leaders Network.
This TeacherSolutions 2030 book project, supported by the MetLife Foundation, involves a dozen of the nation’s most accomplished teachers – young and not-so-young – who agree on the critical importance of creating hybrid roles that allow classroom experts to both teach students and lead outside their schools, in and out of cyberspace.
The timeliness of their perspective is apparent when we look at this finding from the MetLife survey: Hybrid teaching roles are particularly appealing to new teachers (46%) and those who are less than ‘very satisfied’ with their current teaching career (42%).
The survey report offers several quotes from teachers about the potential of hybrid roles:
“Provides a career trajectory for folks that enables them to keep one foot in the classroom while also stretching themselves or sharing their expertise as a professional.”The expansive vision of hybrid teaching put forth by my TeacherSolutions 2030 co-authors reaches beyond the thinking of most public school educators today. For example, Ariel Sacks, a 30-year old Brooklyn middle grades teacher, imagines growing numbers of teacherpreneurs who teach part of the day or week and spend the other half of their worklife in diverse roles that support student success. Those roles might include teaching future teachers, working as community organizers with local education funds, serving as peer reviewers to maintain high professional standards, collaborating with researchers to investigate the effects of teaching policies on student achievement, and/or selling their skills and knowledge virtually in the global education marketplace.
“Gives teachers more flexibility; greater opportunity to exercise or explore leadership roles or other roles outside the classroom without having to leave the classroom.”
“Allows schools to take maximum advantage of teacher expertise without weakening the classroom presence of quality teachers.”
More on teacherpreneurism in our forthcoming book. In the meantime, check out the third and final report from this year’s MetLife survey — certainly the nation’s most comprehensive source of facts and opinions about teaching gathered directly from classroom teachers themselves.
In closing, let me share what I believe is the most disturbing finding across the entire survey: Over 70 percent of America’s teachers do NOT believe they are heard when it comes to the current debates on education. Do our policymakers and pundits really believe change is possible without teacher ownership?