Teachers often make do with what they have and are happy with any credit they receive. They are not teachers because of the money or the glory. They simply want to be known as difference makers. Their jobs are not easy, but there are many things that others can do to make their jobs easier. Teachers want several things from their students, parents, administration, other teachers, and the local community. Many of these things are easy to comply with, yet stakeholders often fail to fulfill these simple requests that could make each teacher tremendously better than they are.
So what do teachers want? They want something different from each of the stakeholder groups that they deal with on a daily basis. These are basic and simple requests that when unfilled frustrates teachers, limits effectiveness, and keeps them from maximizing student potential. Here, we examine twenty-five things that teachers want that would boost student learning and improve teacher effectiveness significantly across all classrooms.
What Do Teachers Want… From Students?
- Teachers want students to come to class each day ready to learn. They want them to come prepared, focused, and motivated. They want students to enjoy the learning process and to be active participants in the learning process.
- Teachers want students to be respectful. They want students to respect their authority. They want students to respect each other. They want students to respect themselves. A respectful and trusting environment allows teachers to maximize learning opportunities each day.
- Teachers want students to understand that the concepts they are teaching them are meaningful. They want their students to make real-life connections. They want their students to see the big picture and to understand that they truly are there because they want to make a difference.
- Teachers want students to be critical thinkers. They want students who desire to understand the process of finding the answer as much as the answer itself. They want students who are not lazy and are as invested in learning as the teacher is in teaching.
- Teachers want students to recognize individual strengths and weaknesses. They want students to apply their strengths so that others in the class can learn from them. They want students to be aware of their weaknesses and to make a continuous effort to improve upon those weaknesses.
What Do Teachers Want… From Parents?
- Teachers want parents to understand that they genuinely have their child's best interest in mind. They want parents to understand that they are not out to get their child. They want parents to see them as the educational expert that can provide their child with a quality education.
- Teachers want parents to communicate their concerns appropriately. Teachers do not want parents to avoid or skirt around an issue. They want an open, trusting relationship with parents so they can figure out the best approach for teaching the student together.
- Teachers want parents to support them. They want parents to take them at their word and not to question their motives. They want parents to support and reinforce classroom management strategies which they have in place. They want parents who will volunteer to help out in any area help may be needed.
- Teachers want parents to be involved with their child's education. They want parents to take an active role in the education of their child. They want parents who will ensure that all homework gets done and that the child is getting plenty of rest so that they will be alert in class each day.
- Teachers want parents to value education. They want parents to stress the importance of education from an early age. They want parents to read with their children each night, to help with homework, and to challenge them academically.
What Do Teachers Want… From the Administration?
- Teachers want administrators to have their back in difficult situations. This includes student discipline, disagreements with parents, or confrontation with another faculty member. Teachers want to feel like their administrator(s) will listen to their side and back them if the evidence supports them.
- Teachers want administrators to provide them with adequate resources. Teachers understand that money can be tight for schools, but there are certain resources that they must have. If a teacher finds a resource that they believe will benefit all students, then they expect the administration to find a way to fund it.
- Teachers want administrators to provide encouragement and advice. Most teachers appreciate honest, accurate evaluations. They want to be encouraged when things get difficult and often need advice in those situations.
- Teachers want administrators to understand what they are doing in their classrooms entirely. This is true, especially for great teachers. They want their administrator(s) to know what they are doing in their classroom because they are proud of it.
- Teachers want administrators to communicate clear expectations. They want to understand school policy and procedures that affect themselves. Teachers want administrators to clarify and explain the district's expectations with issues such as classroom management, student learning, and communication.
What Do Teachers Want… From Other Teachers?
- Teachers want other teachers to be professional. They do not expect other teachers to talk about them with their students, a parent, or another faculty member. They expect other teachers to value their opinion. They expect other teachers to adhere to the policies of the district.
- Teachers want other teachers to collaborate. They value other teachers' opinions. They want them to share best practices and offer advice. They want a strong working relationship with other teachers in which they feel comfortable to share frustrations and success stories.
- Teachers want other teachers to be supportive. They want to know that other teachers believe that they are doing a terrific job. They want to know that their peers believe they are an effective teacher who does a solid job in preparing their students.
- Teachers want other teachers to be unified. They want other teachers to have the same general philosophy of educating students. They want to build relationships with other teachers that go beyond the walls of the school.
- Teachers want other teachers to respect differences. They want other teachers to understand that there is no one way to teach. They want them to understand that education would be boring if every teacher was the same. They want other teachers to steal brilliant ideas being used in their classroom and to apply it to their own.
What Do Teachers Want… From Community Members?
- Teachers want community members to get involved. They want them to volunteer to help in classrooms, read a book to students, or help with a fundraiser. They want them to donate money to projects that they are doing. They want them to offer their services in any capacity that they would be able to help.
- Teachers want community members to share their mission and vision. They want them to pass bond issues. They want them to sit on school committees to gain their perspective and insight. They want them to take ownership of what the school is doing.
- Teachers want community members to understand the value of education. They want them to externalize the importance of a good education. They want education to be a high priority in their community. They want them to understand that the education the school is providing will have a significant impact on their future.
- Teachers want community members to be proud of their school. They want them to know that they have excellent teachers. They want them to be proud of the facilities. They want them to celebrate in student achievements in academics, athletics, and other extracurricular activities.
- Teachers want community members to stay involved. They do not want community members to disappear once their children are no longer in school. They want them to stay involved in the process. They believe that there is power in continuity.