The teaching profession is changing, writes middle-school teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron. In this blog post, she urges teachers to be part of that transition by helping to define the profession and direct its future. For some, she writes, their contribution could come outside of the classroom, as they explore other roles in education leadership. 

I call teaching a new profession because there is an evolution going on. Perhaps it was brought on by financial need. Perhaps simply by an awakening of sorts happening in our troops. But it is happening, and teachers, both new and veteran, must find their place in this new profession.

For me, I had an awakening when my sister gave me the following advice: “Find what you are good at, and invest in yourself.” This little nugget took me towards writing, blogging, becoming an author and curriculum designer, and designing online classes. It’s helped to supplement and support my family, sure, but more than that, I think the professional morphing that I underwent is indicative of a trend happening all over this new profession.

Our Many Hats

After all, we now talk deeper and more seriously of hybrid teachers, teachers stepping up to demand their voices be at tables of policy and curriculum design.

And here’s other truths. There are more teachers:

  • Forming the ranks of a new administrative cohort, one more trained and dedicated to best practice and working in collaboration with their staff
  • Percolating towards a new union, one focused on protecting contracts and achievement
  • Helping to design lessons and assessments and sitting on committees that decide the direction our schools should take
  • Writing, blogging, interviewing, being interviewed, producing, and podcasting, sharing their insight and knowledge of schools, students, and staff

These teachers all had their own epiphanies about how they can improve their lot and improve their profession. Because, frankly, while I still love my job as a full-time teacher, I am very aware of the problems in teaching. Some are systemic and frustrating. We have all left school feeling bloodied, banging our head against the wall of a seemingly impenetrable machine. But some problems can be solved by in the trenches, well-intentioned people who are dedicated to improving this system from the bottom-up — and who aren’t scared to create a new profession of teaching.

I am in awe of teachers who have been in the classroom for 20, 30 years. Many of them are wonderful, gifted educators who deserve the respect of students, fellow teachers, and the public. But I don’t know if that is still what our profession is headed towards.

Continue Reading: Wolpert-Gawron’s blog