One reason schools fail is that the roles and responsibilities of the collective staff often don't equal the completion of the most important tasks.
For example, as a classroom teacher, starting day one I spend most of my day with 25 students. I know what to do to support their learning, but I simply run out of time.
Teaching well requires the following:
1. Activating learning for approximately 4-5 hours a day with responsive lessons and optimal student-centered response. (Teacher attending to students 4-5 hours a day)
2. Planning 4-5 responsive lessons a day that respond to students' results on ongoing formative assessments. To plan these lessons well requires research, creation, xeroxing or linking on the computer and sometimes sharing with colleagues. (approximately 3-4 hours a day)
3. Providing targeted feedback that motivates, encourages and responds specifically to individual learners both in class, and on student work. (Approximately 1-3 hours a day.)
4. Ongoing professional development, paper work and response to administration and learning community calls and questions. (Approximately 1 hour a day).
Now I could be wrong, but I bet if you audited the roles and responsibilities of a school system, you'd find that some professionals are doing the planning, paper work and response during school hours because their direct contact with students is minimal, while others are spending almost all of the paperwork, planning and response time before school hours and after school hours.
There is a great frustration in knowing what will work for students and knowing how to do it, but simply running out of time to serve children well.
I think roles' and responsibilities' audits in schools throughout the country would end up saving schools dollars and providing students with greater response and targeted teaching. Do you agree?
p.s. Like many classroom teachers, I am spending countless morning, evening and weekend hours prepping lessons, providing response and engaging in professional development. I'd actually like to have more time for family and health, but I don't want to run a program that's less than I know is possible. It's a dilemma, and I'm curious how other educators meet this challenge. Thanks for listening.
Since writing this post, there has been change in my teaching/learning organization. The RTI efforts have meant that more educators are planning, teaching, and assessing learning experiences. Also time has been added for teacher collaboration and planning. Further, my role has changed so that I'm teaching two main subjects rather than four and this has created more time for good teaching. These are steps in a positive direction, steps that have meant more time for meaningful, well-planned, responsive instruction.