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Listening to and learning from our teachers

Dr. Taylor listening to teachers


I have held many positions in my career. The most important among them all is classroom teacher. So I was right at home when I recently spent the evening with the nearly 200 members of my Teacher Advisory Council. I will meet with this distinguished group of educators monthly to hear directly from them regarding challenges, concerns, questions and celebrations. It was vital to me that this group of teachers, which includes a representative from every school in our district, also had the opportunity to participate in their own roundtable session to help guide my transition. 


Teachers change lives. I know that from my own teaching experience and from watching it happen over and over again in schools that I have led. And it is our job to provide every educator the resources and support they need to continue to make a positive difference in their students’ lives every single day.


During the roundtable session, I walked around the room and listened to groups of teachers engaged in their assignment: to identify district celebrations and next level opportunities. Common themes emerged. 


Teachers graciously celebrated their district and school leadership. They also expressed appreciation for their dedicated peers, strong relationships with their students, a focus on equity, and school choice within the district. 


And they were transparent and direct in identifying the areas in which we have more work to do. They underscored the critical need to improve all teachers’ work-life balance. They advocated for more support for students in crisis. They shared ideas to help retain more teachers and highlighted the need for more consistent practices across all schools. Their colleagues in the room responded with cheers, snaps and claps. 


I wouldn’t trade my time as a classroom teacher for anything in the world. And I will always value teachers’ feedback because they have the greatest impact on our students. Their voices will continue to guide us as we move forward in this important work together.

With gratitude,


Robert P. Taylor