Romain Bertrand, a multi-classroom leader (MCL) at Ranson IB Middle School in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district, wants to spread the word: Keep great teachers in the classroom, splitting their time between teaching and leading other teachers–for more pay. In “To be or not to be in the classroom, that is the question…“, Bertrand blogs about the sadness of teachers feeling forced out of the classroom in order to progress in their careers–and why using the MCL model should be the way forward for schools.
“For years, a sad reality has been hurting our educational system, at least here in North Carolina: If you are good at teaching and you truly enjoy it, the only way for you to expand your impact and advance in your career is to … leave the very same classroom where you currently excel,” Bertrand writes.
“This paradox has become a dirty little secret that we all whisper: At one point, I am going to have to leave the classroom. It can be to make a decent living (extremely sad but understandable point) but it can also be to find a way to reach more students through instructional coaching and school leadership. Often, it can be to try [to] combine both goals. Couldn’t there be another way?”
Bertrand splits his time among his MCL duties to incorporate direct, flex, and co-teaching in his schedule–right now, about 40% teaching, 40% coaching, and 20% planning and leading professional development. His “five key reasons” behind that split, and why this should be the way forward in education, include:
- Letting students continue to learn from great teachers: “If you can teach, it is a crime not to let the students of your school directly benefit from it: Bring your teaching added value to the table!!! Could you imagine a professional basketball player at the peak of his game retiring to coach his teammates before his knees fall apart?”
- Using the MCL’s schedule flexibility to teach groups of students “who need it the most at the moment they need it the most.”
- Using co-teaching to help the teachers he leads quickly improve an aspect of their teaching, in a way that feels supportive and safe.
- Getting to stay in practice as a teacher while coaching–making the MCL better at both.
Math teacher Bertrand ends with the question behind Public Impact’s creation of the MCL model:
“To be or not to be in the classroom. A response that will belong in the Quantum Theory field more than it does in the Boolean world: How about doing both at the same time?”