TEACH: Shaping the Future of the Teaching Profession

Nearly everyone can name a teacher who inspired him or her, that pushed them, that maybe even changed their life.

Teaching is the foundation of our educational system. Without teachers, education as we know it would simply not exist. Teachers play an important role in preparing and nurturing the next generation of leaders.

Almost two million teachers are set to retire in the next ten years. Filling those two million jobs with a talented new generation of teachers is among the goals of the revamped TEACH.org, which was officially kicked off this week by Microsoft’s Partners in Learning division.

Secretary Duncan speaks at the TEACH event.

Secretary Duncan speaks at the TEACH event.

“The ability to attract and retain the best talent to the teaching profession will shape public education in this country for the next thirty years,” Secretary Arne Duncan told the crowd at this week’s official launch of the program.

TEACH began as part of the Department of Education’s to recruit the next generation of teachers to join those already in the classroom. Now, the Department is working on the project with Microsoft as part of a public-private partnership. Read more about this transition here.

“The challenges we face are solvable,” said Brad Jupp, ED senior program advisor and former teacher. “They’re solvable due to the partnerships we can make with people like Microsoft.”

Low teacher retention rates, poor compensation, and a general lack of respect surrounding the teaching profession takes a toll on student achievement and the ability to attract talented students to the profession. There is an immediate need to elevate teachers, bringing professionalism and talent to the profession. Read more about ED’s RESPECT Project.

The problems in education can’t be solved by one entity alone. It will take the commitment of the private sector in conjunction with the government to revolutionize public education. TEACH is an example of how companies are coming together and doing their part in the fight to provide every child with a quality public education.

“We have to elevate and strengthen the teaching profession,” said Duncan. “This takes massive cultural change, but the long term impact is extraordinary.”

For more information on the TEACH coalition, visit http://www.teach.org/.

Madalyn Muncy is a junior at Hope College in Holland, Mich., and an intern in the Office of Communications and Outreach

3 Comments

  1. Some really good points have been made. However, this is the same rhetoric that has been going on for at least the last 30 years. We keep talking about overhauling the system and accomplishing this with statements such as, ‘“We have to elevate and strengthen the teaching profession,” said Duncan. “This takes massive cultural change, but the long term impact is extraordinary.”’ I agree completely. However, politicians and other interests outside of education are making decisions that do the exact opposite of “elevating and strengthening” the teaching profession. The fact is, teachers will not be elevated or strengthened until they are allowed and expected to be professionals! A professional is responsible directly to the consumer. A consumer seeks out a professional of their choice for the services they want to pay for. Instead, cookie cutter is the standard and our children are used as bait by the federal and state governments to distribute different levels of funding. The best schools are given less attention/funding while the least successful schools are almost rewarded for failure. Let’s make a mark in the sand just for fun. Since 1983, when “A Nation at Risk” hit the bookshelves and alarmed the nation, the cycle of creating catastrophic perceptions and then responding with unfunded mandates and budget cuts has been the band wagon nationwide. Hence, back to the beginning of my ramblings…that rhetoric, and thus the cycles to follow, have not worked. And yet, we as educators sit back and take it rather than acting like professionals and take control of the processes within the system. Our campus is a Blue Ribbon School. Our success can be attributed to our teachers who have decided to own their challenges in spite of all the crap that is constantly, and I mean constantly, thrown at them via legislation. Should teachers, or any professionals, have create an attitude of “in spite” of anything? Not if the welfare of our children, and ultimately our nation, is truly supreme and therefore, truly a top priority. Say and do something different!

  2. I have always thought of myself as a teacher yet only as an unofficial status. I am now enrolled at Grand Canyon University in a Bachelor program. My major is Business Entrepreneur Studies and I have favored mathematics throughout my education. I feel that becoming a teacher in our country is one of the most important occupations that can be achieved. I still remember the great teachers from grade school till the present and I remember how I was helped by these awesome people. I have spoken with my academics counselor and he said he would let the proper department know and they will contact me. Is there anything else that I should do to help prepare for this occupation?

  3. I left Microsoft last summer to become a teacher. I should finish my teaching degree and be fully certificated this summer. There is no greater calling, no more fulfilling vocation, than teaching. If you have been considering a career change, then do it, *now*, the kids need you.

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