“Supporting teachers means continuing to increase their pay and giving them back the time to do what they entered the profession to do: teach.”
North Carolina’s teachers and school leaders are working harder than ever, and we must do everything we can to support them.
The best way we can support teachers is by listening and communicating with them and then acting for them. To do this, I visit schools nearly every week during the school year, and we also provide all teachers with ways to share their thoughts with us about various topics. But we don’t just listen – we take action.
When teachers told me that testing guidelines coming out of Raleigh were too strict, we acted to give teachers more discretion in the classroom. When teachers told me they wanted more reading resources for their youngest students, we sent them $200 per K-3 classroom to use how they saw fit.
We were also able to get previously unused education funds to classrooms by buying new iPads for K-3 reading teachers. No matter how much technology we add to schools, though, the teacher always has been and always will be the most important part of the classroom. Technology will help make the teacher’s job easier by the addition of personalized learning for students.
Importantly, to give teachers back time to teach, we also need to reduce over-testing in our schools at all levels – we need fewer, better tests.
Being able to recruit, retain and support teachers is one of the best ways we can improve our public schools. When we support teachers, we empower them, and as a result, parents, educators and students all benefit.