This idea of raising the bar for teachers, or “strategic talent management,” is trending nationally. According to Allan Odden, co-director of the Consortium for Policy Research in Education in a recent article, the effort is focused on “making entry to the profession difficult at every point to ensure that only the top talent meets the entry standards.”
Odden equates the need for rigorous assessments for teachers with implementing a “bar exam,” lifting the status of the teaching profession to the level of importance that it should be, according to the consortium.
Mobile County schools are going to a “medical model” of teacher certification, according to State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice, “to ensure teachers are ‘student ready.’”
“You wouldn’t turn medical school graduates loose in an operating room without lots of practice, and assurance that they are ‘patient ready’,” Dr. Bice explained during a recent State Board of Education work session. This method of allowing teacher candidates an opportunity to obtain practical classroom experience “just makes sense.”
Many education leaders agree that since teachers are responsible for getting students well prepared for medical school, law school, or any number of chosen professions, it does make sense that the teaching profession be lifted to meet the highest standards.
Educators recognize that learning their craft continues as they enter the profession. As the saying goes, practice does make perfect … or at least better. Teachers in Alabama who participate in the Alabama Best Practices Center’s networks have the opportunity to observe and put into practice new, proven pedagogy during their Instructional Rounds hosted at schools around the state. Instructional Rounds were modeled after medical rounds, and have proven to be highly effective with continuous improvement efforts in professional development.
In a blog post by Carmen Buchanan, Instructional Assistant Principal at James Clemens High School (Madison City), she describes her faculty’s experience with their first internal Instructional Round and the effective and practical professional development that resulted.
Sharing best practices is an effective way to not only help teachers develop, but also to replicate more broadly what works best in classrooms, which is the premise of the Alabama Best Practices Center’s work. The Alabama Best Practices Center is a division of A+ Education Partnership.
As academic standards and expectations for student achievement continue to rise, the teaching profession will also rise to greater importance. Practicing new, innovative methods, evaluating performance, and demonstrating confidence before “turning a new teacher loose” in the classroom can assure higher levels of effective teaching and learning.