What do teachers need?

What do teachers need? We need what the students need.

Students need a chance to take ownership of their learning. We shouldn’t expect one instructional strategy to reach all students.
Allow creativity and choice.

Teachers need a chance to take ownership of their teaching. I’m shocked when I hear of teachers that are required to “teach” scripted lessons that were prepared by companies that “teacher-proof” the materials. Allow creativity. Allow us to teach in a way that works for us and our students. I am lucky enough to be trusted to make decisions for what is right for my students.

Students need effective feedback. They need timely feedback to allow them to grow. Recognition of effort doesn’t hurt either.

Teachers need effective feedback. We need to hear how we are doing and be allowed to collaborate with supervisors and colleagues without worrying about the repercussions of an honest conversation.

Students need strong leaders. As teachers, we are their leader in the classroom. We need to be effective at managing time, materials, and behaviors. We need to observe, help, and inspire. As leaders, teachers should not make excuses for not meeting all the students’ needs. We will fail at this sometimes, but it is our responsibility to do everything we can.

Teachers need effective leaders. This goes from the assistant principal all the way up to our lawmakers. We need them to observe, help, and inspire. I can assure you that threats do not inspire.

Students need to feel safe and accepted. All of my students are special to me simply because they are mine. We have rough patches and we have victories.

Teachers need to feel accepted. By colleagues. By parents. By society. I don’t want to say anything about anti-teacher sentiments. This is not the place for that right now.

Students need opportunities. They need to be given a chance to take risks, have new experiences, and do things they never imagined possible.

Teachers need opportunities. We need to be given the chance to surpass your expectations. We might if you let us.

Students are not subpopulations or test scores. They are not perfectly behaved with smiling faces and folded hands sitting in rows.  This is real life, not a Norman Rockwell painting.

Teachers are not saints. We deal with things we don’t feel equipped to handle. We make mistakes and learn from them.

Students are people. Teachers are people. We need to be treated that way.


  1. Best post I have read in a long time.

  2. I second that, April. I work in health; you could substitute “health professionals” for teachers and “patients” for students and it would all still apply. Seems to be the way of the world. We are often forced to follow “policy” rather than our own clinical reasoning. It never ends well. You guys “reclaim your classrooms” and we will “reclaim” our hospitals and clinics.

  3. Well said!

  4. Thank you for putting into words what we all feel and think.

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