What Do Teachers Need?
Speaking generally, I support teacher walkouts, and here's why. I believe that teachers have the single greatest influence on student learning. More than any other factor in education. Bar none. Research shows it, and every student knows it. Therefore, it is imperative that teachers are supported in a variety of ways:
1. Professional development/training:
Targeted on curriculum creation. What should be taught.
Instructional delivery. How lessons should be delivered in a way that intrinsically motivates learning for all learning styles.
Relationship building. How to create an environment for learning for all and to remediate and especially to enrich lesson concepts. We remediate the devil out of the kids but enriching them is much more powerful and extends their learning more effectively.
Expertise in teaching with differing kinds, including learning with students' cell phones especially at the secondary level (grades 6-12).
3. Teacher voice:
Teachers should be part of a decision making process at the school and division levels. They are in the trenches and their voices must be heard, respected, and valued. There should be a well-established communication system at the school and division level that supports teachers' knowledge and intuition in the classroom.
Teachers today are vastly underpaid; more so than in the past as the cost of living increases haven't been adequate (speaking generally). Teachers have bachelor's and master's degrees, but single teachers rarely make enough to support a family adequately on a school division's pay scale. Most teachers purchase school supplies from their own pocket since school- and division-level supply budgets are frequently low, depending on state and community tax structure.
Naturally, communities with a larger tax base have better-funded schools. Rural schools usually suffer under this economic structure. This is why some counties can pay teachers as much as $6000-$7000 per year more than adjacent counties for similar positions with the same amount of experience. Rural counties don't typically have a broad tax base and citizens won't support much of a tax increase. If the citizens don't support an increase, then local government won't support an increase either.