While states take important steps to improve their systems of educator preparation, licensure and early career support, there is also opportunity and a growing need to examine career pathways, broader considerations for the teaching workforce and the role of teacher itself. We are excited to work with state leaders and stakeholders to examine and reconsider the structure and composition of the workforce itself. Unique to each state’s context and goals, this broader examination can include new pathways for paraprofessionals to become teachers, adjunct or part-time roles to provide opportunities for students to learn from those with expertise in areas like STEM, the arts and 21st century CTE skills or other new redesigns of the teaching role and workforce. A broad rethinking of the teaching profession can also empower school leaders to utilize a broader range of adults in the community who can contribute toward a child’s education.
To meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s students and to prepare them for success in a quickly changing world, we are pleased to partner with state, education, community, and private sector leaders to explore a broad rethinking of the teaching workforce. These series of conversations are based in a belief that to prepare all students for success, the teaching workforce must be diverse and knowledgeable enough for school leaders to build instructional teams that meet the needs of all students in all schools.
To create these conditions for local leaders, our Rethinking the Teaching Workforce discussions explore how the systems governing the workforce needs to be adjusted to empower school leaders to rethink how to use more of the adults in the community who can contribute toward a child’s education. In addition to rethinking pathways and requirements to current roles, this includes examining policies or practices that provide for greater diversity in pathways into the classroom and roles in classrooms and schools.
These discussions will draw on national research and unique local context or factors. Some of the questions explored can include:
- Why do we think a single role of “Teacher” is the only role that should exist?
- What if we created new roles and new pathways that would let a local artist, scientist or computer programmer come in and teach part-time to share their specific expertise?
- Or created pathways to help paraprofessionals — who are often deeply connected to the community — to become teachers?
- What if we deconstructed “Teacher” into multiple roles that could either draw on discrete skills and knowledge or serve as a progression to the ultimate role of Teacher?
- Are there things we can learn from the university professor structure or other professions?
- How can we build on the work a number of districts are doing to create new career pathways that give teachers an option between staying in the classroom as a teacher full-time and making the jump to being a principal?
- What is the appropriate role of the state and of local school system leaders?