Giving Compass' Take:

• The 2017 National Teacher of the Year shares her three observations of classroom trends that are becoming popular: teacher leadership, social-emotional learning, and fellowship. 

• How can school administrators maintain these positive trends in the classroom? 

• Read about how social-emotional learning can help address student needs. 

I have been teaching humanities to ninth-graders at Codman Academy Charter Public School in Boston for the last 12 years.

It’s the middle of my first year back in the classroom after a year away as the 2017 National Teacher of the Year. While on my journey, I observed three patterns in particular that I’d like to share: Teacher leadership, social and emotional learning, and fellowship.

I’m hopeful that by empowering teachers to lead, these patterns can be tailored for replication in school districts and charters around the country to improve education for all of our kids.

  1.  Teacher leadership: Administrators shared leadership with teachers, trusting their expertise and leaning on them to drive change from within the school. When teachers raised concerns about school systems or policies, administrators listened.
  2. Social and emotional learning. When I asked teachers what they most wanted to change about the way education works, they told me they wished schools could be more responsive to students’ needs as whole people, not just as scholars. Schools everywhere were innovating by creating spaces within classrooms for students to self-regulate, teaching students to identify and reflect on their own emotions, and facilitating professional development on SEL.
  3. Fellowship. Sometimes, in teaching, we feel isolated from one another. Having the chance to meet and talk to other teachers — to swap anecdotes and best practices — not only makes us feel more plugged-in and informed, but also gives us a sense of camaraderie and support.  These fellowships can be formal or informal, online or in person. I know a lot of teachers who use Twitter to cultivate their own teaching networks and stay connected.

Read the full article about classroom trends by Sydney Chaffee at The Hechinger Report