Building A Pipeline For Quality Educators

Friday, December 06, 2013

There has been an emphasis in recent days on the loss of experienced teachers in Tennessee classrooms.  Make no mistake, every time a classroom teacher walks out the school door never to return, students lose not only knowledge and familiarity with a school or community, they also lose the know-how of a veteran educator.   

Ongoing speculation to why this trend is occurring is as different as one’s view on the weather.    One thing is for certain, you don’t buy quality on the cheap and that includes training, hiring and replacing educators. So it is imperative to the state that the local school districts maintain quality instructors. Ask any business leader and they will confirm that the quality of education, in large part, is what keeps individuals or businesses in a community.  And both connect the quality of life often by the quality of the schools.  

Research tells us the number one indicator for student success is the classroom teacher. 

We also know that American teachers generally spent more time instructing students and less time in professional learning opportunities with their peers than those in top-performing countries. This has to change. School districts must pay attention to the issues of talent supply and demand, as well as be prepared for the challenge of preparing the next generation of skilled educators.  That is why our organization, Professional Educators of Tennessee, spends so much of our time and resources providing educators with professional learning that enhances their competence, confidence and leadership skills, leading to higher academic achievement for students.  

School districts may want to look at how to implement more effective mentoring programs for educators, utilizing retired educators.  The key to helping teachers entering the classroom for the first time is by providing each teacher with an effective mentor.  The key to keeping effective teachers in the classroom is by not only providing enough personal planning time, but also providing mandatory planning time with peers (Professional Learning Communities).  And it is clear that there needs to be better dialogue in the state between school districts and the colleges and universities training our teachers, as well as the associations who represent them.  We need to unite around the strategies to ensure the future success of all Tennessee students.  We must discuss what’s working in professional development and in what areas we can improve. 

In Tennessee, where we embrace local control of public education, we have to recognize keeping excellence in our classrooms is a key to remaining competitive in a 21st century global economy.  We must explore meaningful solutions to Tennessee’s greatest education challenges, and policymakers and stakeholders must engage in the necessary discussion of teacher development, recruitment and retention.  The policy decisions that our state is making will influence generations to come. We must make the best decisions possible, investing in our talent pipeline to secure a bright future for Tennessee. 

Bethany Bowman is director of Professional Development for Professional Educators of Tennessee.  Her background includes serving on the staff of the Florida Department of Education Bureau of Educator Certification and a former public school teacher.


Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Okay … here we go. A number of readers have complained that I haven’t shared any jokes that my friends send to my email address so on a weekend when our Volunteers and Mocs are idle, let’s laugh a little:   I was sitting in a bar one afternoon with an old friend knocking back a few beers when he said, "You know, if we're not careful we'll end up like those two old drunks ... (click for more)

You’re Right With Lamar

One of Tennessee’s favorite sons, Davy Crockett, coined an oft-used phrase:  “Be always sure you’re right, then go ahead.” Being sure is quite important, but may be difficult in this election cycle. The Democratic nominee campaigning against Lamar Alexander is a man whose radio ads call for “change,” “fair” taxes and more jobs.  Sounds good, huh?   ... (click for more)

3 People Shot On Wilson Street; One Victim Has "Life-Threatening" Wounds

Three people were shot on Wilson Street on Sunday night, including one who was critically injured. At approximately 8:22 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to 2300 Wilson St. for shots fired in the area. O fficers located two black males suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. O ne victim was transported by HCEMS to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries. ... (click for more)

Jumoke Johnson Jr. To Plead Guilty On Selling Crack Cocaine

A youth who was in the news earlier as a teen who had been the first in his family to graduate from Brainerd High School and who found a patron willing to pay for his college education is set to plead guilty on Tuesday to a charge of selling crack cocaine. Jumoke Johnson Jr., who turned 21 on Saturday, dropped out of Miles College in Alabama after one semester and has been ... (click for more)

McCallie Beats Baylor In Tennessee Classic Silver Division

NASHVILLE – Reed Oscar was the overall winner in 16 minutes, 49 seconds and teammate Dylan Carmack finished fifth overall in 17 minutes, 13 seconds to lead the McCallie Blue Tornado cross country team to a first-place finish in the Silver division of the Tennessee Classic, which was held here at Percy Warner Park Saturday morning. Teammates Connor Smith and Kevin Wagoner finished ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Golf Team Second At Wolf Run Intercollegiate

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team is tied for second after 18 holes at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate. The Mocs and Florida Gators each shot 295 over the opening 18 to trail Illinois by 11 at 285 at Wolf Run Golf Club. The day’s docket had a scheduled 36 holes. Afternoon storms sent teams from the course prior to finishing. The remaining holes will be completed starting at 9:30 ... (click for more)