Okay, it's September (I know, I know) I missed updating you in August. Life got busy and as I often tell you, I struggle with balance (got off track again). I'm taking two of the five courses that I have left in this pursuit and in addition to that I am now an adjunct professor of teacher education at Paul Quinn College, by the way I LOVE it, but with this addition, I have more late nights even still, I continue to press on. Along with my course work, specialist work, and adjunct work, I am also an appointed member of my school districts Racial Equity Advisory Council for the area that I live in. This gives me the opportunity to be the voice for the children in my neighborhood as well as the teachers who work in my neighborhood. I want to use this platform to speak about how to improve the level of instruction that babies in my area are getting. This leads me to what I really want to talk about tonight, teacher efficacy.
Teacher efficacy is the educator’s belief that they can guide their students to success no matter what challenges they come to school with. Teachers who come to work believing that they can positively affect student academic success do what is necessary to achieve that. Collective teacher efficacy is the belief that as a school community, working together all teachers can positively affect student success. This is what creates effective, high performing schools. This can sometimes be the novice educator (I’ve seen and worked with some) quite often though, it’s the veteran educator. The educator who has experienced teaching children from differing backgrounds and challenges. The teacher that is continually working on his or her craft. Here is the real provocation, quite often those teachers don’t work in the areas that need them most – areas with high crime and low socioeconomic status. In my work, I have seen the effects of teachers with poor efficacy. I have seen too often brand-new teachers, and/or poorly trained teachers working with our students who come from low socioeconomic areas. The problem with this is that they are quite often not properly trained to deal with the various needs that these babies come to school with and as a result, performance in those schools is low over all. It is on my mind because I have got to find a way to change this pattern. ACE (accelerating campus excellence) helps, but what happens when those schools still cannot fully staff with good veteran educators, what can we do when the money runs out? What can we do with and for educators and schools in these areas to get and retain veteran educators? Better still, how can we train the educators we have that are willing to work in these areas? These are questions that I am seeking the answers too, because the goal should be and still is, student academic success and we need it to be done equitable.
Thank you for reading...
Pearl Garden, Ed.D has completed her dissertation research involving understanding the vocabulary instruction practices of early grade teachers. She has a passion for the new and novice educator, and it is her goal to help educators tackle the achievement gap with her research findings. She will use this blog to share what she has learned in “pearls of literacy”. The ideas come from her dissertation titled “A Content Analysis of the Vocabulary Instruction Habits by Early Grade Teachers”.