When I tell people what I do, an early question is often, “Well, what do teachers think about that?” And at times, if you follow the news, you’d think it is all negative – that teachers do not support expanding learning time.
However, after working in this field for close to five years, I can tell you that the opposite is true. Teachers are largely supportive of expanding learning time. We know that teachers are craving for more time to collaborate with their colleagues, to look at assessment data, and to individualize their instruction.
And we know that for an expanded-time school to be successful, teachers must be empowered, feel supported, and the quality of the instruction must be top-notch. We are so pleased that both Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, have joined TSC as featured signatories as well as many teachers from expanded-time schools.
Unfortunately, today’s typical school schedule rarely permits the time teachers need or want to meet their goals. With more time, teachers have the power to transform the way they deliver their lessons and the way in which they lead their schools to higher achievement. Teachers at successful expanded-time schools spend substantial amounts of time working with administrators, instructional coaches, and colleagues to engage in thoughtful lesson-planning that takes into consideration student needs, effective teaching practices, and clear objectives for student learning.
We are also finding that expanded learning time empowers teachers to take on leadership roles within their schools. When teachers are charged to make change and given a voice in how to help one another improve their practice, transformations can come with consensus and allegiance. When students have more instructional time in their day to learn and grow, the school’s learning environment is remarkably enhanced. And both teachers and students reap the benefits. But don’t just take our word for it; you can listen to the voices of teachers.