Join ED and Teachers for a #TeachTalk Discussion on Twitter

“Teachers make thousands of decisions a day, and they don’t do it about an abstract idea, they do it about the life of a child. You can’t imagine anything harder.”

-Brad Jupp, Senior Program Adviser on Teacher Initiatives, Office of the Secretary

On Friday, January 27, the US Department of Education will welcome over 200 teachers for a screening of the documentary, American Teacher. Narrated by Matt Damon and directed by Academy Award winner Vanessa Roth, the film chronicles the stories of four teachers living and working in different urban and rural areas of the country. It follows the teachers as they reach different milestones in their careers and provides a rich and compelling portrait of the teaching profession in America today.

Following the screening, participants will engage in a discussion regarding how we can reshape the culture of American education to better attract, retain, and support highly effective teachers. Because all of the tickets for this event were completely given away less than 48 hours from the start of registration, the Washington Teaching Ambassador Fellows have created a “virtual” outreach opportunity for teachers from across the country.

Following the screening of the film, while participants in ED’s Barnard auditorium are engaged in a live discussion, you will have the opportunity to engage with your colleagues, ED policy experts, and Washington Fellows in a Twitter discussion. We will be joined by ED’s own, John White (@RuralED), the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach. Participation in this virtual event is not dependent upon your having viewed the film. ED is looking for your input on education reform and ways to improve public perception of teachers so they are respected and held in high regard. How do we attract, retain and support the best teachers? To be a part of the discussion, log onto Twitter and use the hashtag #TeachTalk, starting at 7:45pm EST.

Greg Mullenholz is a Washington Teaching Ambassador Fellow on loan from his school in Rockville, Md. 

6 Comments

  1. Do you guys get paid to talk like Michelle Rhee? All the talk about attracting and retaining teachers misses the point.

    Many of them leave because it’s just really hard. Others leave because the working conditions are deplorable. Others leave because they get fired.

    The problem is not teachers or schools.

    Your purpose seems to be to close the achievement gap, right? Well, you do that by instituting anti-poverty measures.

    Why do I say that? Because when we look at the NAEP or PISA scores we see that our affluent students are number 1 in the world, and our impoverished kids aren’t.

    We’ve know this for 60 years, yet here you are, complaining about teacher retention.

    Tell me, @RuralEd, were you ever a teacher?

  2. Do you guys get paid to talk like Michelle Rhee? All the talk about attracting and retaining teachers misses the point.

    Many of them leave because it’s just really hard. Others leave because the working conditions are deplorable. Others leave because they get fired.

    The problem is not teachers or schools.

    Your purpose seems to be to close the achievement gap, right? Well, you do that by instituting anti-poverty measures.

    Why do I say that? Because when we look at the NAEP or PISA scores we see that our affluent students are number 1 in the world, and our impoverished kids aren’t.

    We’ve know this for 60 years, yet here you are, complaining about teacher retention.

    Tell me, John White, were you ever a teacher?

  3. Tomorrow, up here in Buffalo, we are having our own screening of “American Teacher”. Crowded into my living room will be a group of educators looking for answers to what works best for students in our city. We seek not to blame, but to find answers to our deepest concerns: how do we attract and retain the best teachers? how can teachers maintain a disciplined, productive classroom AND stay abreast of policy and changes in the profession? what can be done in a city where four year graduation rates hover below 50%? how can we scale up the models of education we know work, while moving away from the outdated models that see chronic failure?

    Lots of questions, and we are heartened to know there are teachers in DC watching the same movie, and asking the same questions.

  4. Yea,though I walk through the valley of reform I will fear no legislation. We have been acronymed ( sic) with NCLB ,RTI and Common Core. May I introduce yet another? LMAO.( LEAVE ME ALONE, OMNIPOTENTS ) Formerly confident in our convictions and methods, teaching has many of us quivering in our mouse holes, fearing the next scientifically ( data based) sound practice to improve our test scores. Is there a practice to improve our status from blue collar to white collar and finally give us our (self) worth a boost? I hope we can give more time to this at the top so our burn out rate doesn’t incline. We may lose our most inspired and relentless educators to the dogma.

  5. Status quo departments of education, districts, testing companies and elite activists have hijacked education reform making matters much worse .

    As each year passes, there is more corporate influence, more rules, more requirements, more grand pedagogy, more misguided technology and more theatrics all serving to undermine real, thoughtful education.

    Real educators are excluded or driven out by test score advocates, politics, intrusive influence and wrong-headed priorities.

  6. Oftentimes, we need models for better practices. Leadership can provide the model. We need to be as concerned about keeping talent as they are promoting test results/scores. How do we recruit and retain teachers and get the public to show respect? Our history is to focus on the end result of a teacher’s work. How would you respond to someone obviously pondering the goal or the end of the transaction, paying little attention to process and providing meager support yet all the while proposing different strategies or flavors of the week without your input? Teachers know when someone respects them as a person and the work they do. But to respect the work, we must be interested in the process and willing to acknowledge the complexity involved while giving time and attention from all, allowing for the results to occur. While attempting to help, have we gotten in the way, expecting gourmet experiences from a fast food mindset? How many cooks in the kitchen are productive?

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