As teachers and leaders pull Opportunity Culture models into five states in 2014 (watch for announcements, coming soon!), what teachers think about their experiences matters enormously.
Listen to their voices: On our new “What Teachers Are Saying” page, teachers from school design teams that chose and adapted models to fit their schools, and the teachers working within those models this year talk about what an Opportunity Culture has meant to their lives, professionally and personally. This amazing group of teaching pioneers loves the support, collaboration, on-the-job learning, and higher pay in their Opportunity Culture schools:
“Support is a huge piece of this—it makes a big difference! I feel very supported this year, more so than last year. I love how [my multi-classroom leader] can co-teach with me and also work with students.”— Buena Vista Elementary team teacher Amy Cramer, Nashville
“I think the sky is the limit. I never would have thought that about teacher salary—usually, it’s, ‘I’m going to cap out soon as a teacher. I do it because I love it, etc. But to actually think that I could be paid what I’m worth is the best feeling in the world. Teachers are so underappreciated and devalued, especially ELA teachers.”—Tiffany McAfee, Touchstone Education master teacher, Newark, N.J.
“I actually was able to start a savings account this year, for the first time in my career.”—Ashley Park Elementary Multi-Classroom Leader Kristin Cubbage, speaking to Charlotte’s WBTV
“I love [being a multi-classroom leader] because I’m able to model things. Teachers can come watch me as I teach. I get to preach what I teach, I get to work with students, they get a double dose, and with a person who has more experience, teachers feel like they get additional service. That brings a whole new dimension to how they see me. If they see I can have success managing their students with the same strategies I’m telling them to use, they know it can work. It’s also relevant to them. They also trust it. A big thing with teachers is trust. Someone in the trenches makes it much more useful. They trust my feedback and value it. And they see it in action.”— Buena Vista Elementary MCL Joe Ashby, Nashville
“For brainstorming, there are just more people to go to. I’m so excited to have that. I feel like I have a career focus now. Before, I enjoyed teaching, but didn’t know how to advance.”—Churchwell Museum Magnet Elementary team teacher Tamika Samples, Nashville
Watch for more quotes as more schools create their own Opportunity Cultures. Want to know more about an Opportunity Culture? Watch this 20-minute speech that Bryan Hassel–co-director of Public Impact–gave to the 2014 N.C. Emerging Issues Forum, where he explained why sustainably funded career paths are critical to the future of the profession.