Thursday, May 1, 2008

what do teachers want?

Teacher Appreciation Week in my house means a list is sent home by the Parent Association with items to send to school for the teacher each day. Sometimes my children and I are inspired by excellent teachers to go beyond the list, and sometimes we aren't. But in every case, I feel gratitude for these people who spend each day teaching my children.

I have spent the past ten months working in three schools with many great teachers who care deeply about doing their jobs well. I also noticed educational publishing trends that show publishers do listen to what teachers want. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week I thought I'd pass along these observations to my fellow education freelance writers. Here are the top things I noticed this year:

-Teachers wanting MORE, MORE (!) science and social studies content related texts because they have less and less time to teach those two subjects. The teachers use language arts time to squeeze in some science and social studies content by reading related text whenever possible. (although everyone admits this isn't actually "teaching" science and social studies - but feel it's better than nothing)

-NF book purchases for the classroom and library aligned to state standards (including math which even the upper grade teachers want more of)

-Need for more NF materials that can be used for differentiated instruction (ELL, hi/low, etc)

-Questions about instructional materials being "research-based"

Have you noticed these or any other trends since last year? How has any of this affected your career?


ps visit my post about my little Louella - a student who inspired me - Teacher Appreciation Week


otter said...

It's nice to see that what teachers want aligns with what I want, and what I feel I would need if I were in the classroom right now. One way I solved the lack of time dilemma (to get everything in) was to do the reverse of what you mentioned--I would use Science and Social Studies time to get in more reading and writing. And yes, we would also read texts related to Science and Social Studies topics during Language Arts time. I've heard (from an educational publisher) that current trends are moving away from integrated curriculum, with the focus on standards and the 3 R's, but I disagree --without integrated curriculum we'll never get those other subjects taught!

How is all this changing my career? I'd love to be in the classroom some, enough to be active, yet need the time for the educational writing I do. I'm trying to get a math vocab. series out to publishers (it's going slowly), and I'm currently working on an ELL book with Dorit (aka Pieces of Me, DS Writer's Table). And, I'm working on a proposal for a book on standards that I wish was out to the publisher yesterday.
(fortunately, my children are college age, but now that they're on summer break, they still come through and disrupt the thinking process! but it's great fun)

hmjenck said...

I agree that integration is a wise way to do it - that's real life anyway.

Good luck with your proposals. I can't wait to hear how it all works out. Stay in touch!