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Where Are The Teachers?

In the News | May 4, 2020

As Teacher Appreciation Week begins today (May 4-8), MƒA President John Ewing suggests if we want to show teachers real appreciation, try giving them respect—not just words but the kind that genuinely values their expertise. In his newest column for Forbes, Ewing writes how when we don’t value this expertise, we stop expecting it, leading to teachers seldom having a role in pedagogical reform or policy-making.

“Should teachers be experts in the content they teach? Of course, they must. To teach young people, you have to know the material—deeply, differently, so you can unpack the ideas in many ways, for the struggling as well as the precocious. Should teachers be part of reform? Of course. Teachers are the ones who drive reform forward, not policy makers. Should teachers weigh in on issues that affect their students? It seems absurd to even ask such a question. Good teachers know their students best.”

Ewing adds that the worst consequence of not valuing teacher expertise is how the teaching profession as a whole can become less attractive. The best teachers eventually leave, fewer of the best enter, and over time teacher expertise declines, creating a downward spiral.

“This year, instead of giving teachers a plant or a letter or a video (all suggestions from the internet), why not give them something they can use? Give them respect—the kind that recognizes their expertise. Otherwise, we might all soon be asking … "Where are the teachers?"

Read Ewing’s full Forbes column, “Where are the teachers?” here.