Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” perhaps now more than ever, that adage holds true as America’s well being and economic future hinges on bringing new scientists and mathematicians into the workforce. experts say in order to transform the US educational system we need to invest in teachers who are uniquely positioned to improve education in their classrooms and beyond. top-down initiatives often come from people who went to school whether you have politicians or people from outside the education sphere they think they understand what is best for the teachers they fail to encounter some of the constraints that teachers face on a daily basis.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”Nelson Mandela
They see the struggles that the students have to face every day so they are the ones who understand the constraints imposed by the schedule in the textbooks and the budgets. The initiative to give expertise to the teachers allowed them to drive the changes. The curriculum suggestion boards formed across the country consisting of teachers made progressive changes to Session Materials – Math for example, and all the basic subjects taught as well. This resulted in the Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative of the US Education Department. The curriculum development responsibility taken up by teachers themselves allowed creating a better product for the students. The aims of the program were that the students are going to learn more and education in United States gets better. Recognizing teachers can and should be the drivers of educational improvement.
The Teacher-to-Teacher initiative strives to create an educational system led by the teachers who are equipped to solve difficult problems and respond to local challenges in order to serve all of our nation’s students. The program committees active on this initiative all across the US conducted a survey amongst top 2000 successful people and most of them felt that they owed their success in life to having excellent math and science teachers particularly at the high school level. Therefore, they felt that the best way to give that opportunity to others was to support beginning teachers who have potential to be leaders and accelerate that process.
Teaching is a difficult profession and many people do not recognize that they are in the classroom with their students, day in and day out. They rarely get a chance to step back and reflect or work with colleagues. The Teacher-to-Teacher Fellowship is a way to give access to all the teachers to a community of like-minded individuals all across the country. The group that benefited most is the young teachers facing every imaginable challenge in the classroom from tough topics to tough students. The community enabled them access to a set of resources that was incredibly important for helping them get through those difficult first years. Designed specifically to address the needs of beginning teachers, the program offered financial support, mentoring and coaching and membership in a community of more than 3000 fellows to help shape collaborative innovative leaders committed to improving mathematics and science education for students in the United States.
The fellowships started as a part of this initiative across the US offers them a stipend so that they can use their summers to learn and take time to reflect and work with colleagues instead of getting a second job like most teachers have to do. The teacher initiative also offers sustained professional development grounded in classroom practice. Self-sustaining educational groups created with the aim to offer courses designed and facilitated by experienced teachers who understand the complexities of teaching in today’s world. All of the courses and services that offered involve ongoing support and coaching throughout the school year. Many teachers close the door to their classrooms and teach in a very isolated fashion. The program tries to break down that door and allow people to learn from each other. this helps take away the stigma of having a bad lesson when sometimes things don’t go well. Instead, it becomes a great learning opportunity if you share it.
T2T program with the Teaching Materials from ED Summer Workshops, seminars, and other peer-to-peer sharing opportunities allows us to increase our vulnerability and allows us to share some of our failures so that we can learn from them with this network of other people. We know who is going through the same things. This program has helped mold many educators into the teachers they are today both professionally and personally. The experience of coming back from a group where everything clicks and knowing that they can trust and work with other teachers is one of the goals of the program. The program launched with the motto “No teacher left behind” introduced teaching techniques, strand zing technology across all age groups of teaching professionals.