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February 1, 2014
Vol. 71
No. 5

Double Take

Double Take - Thumbnail
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Research Alert

Would you encourage your child to become a teacher? If you had to compare teaching with another profession, which one would it be? These are some of the provocative questions that respondents answered in a recent survey on the social status of teachers around the world.
The nonprofit Varkey GEMS Foundation created the 2013 Global Teacher Status Index to measure the level of respect for teachers in 21 different countries. Here are some of the findings:
  • Teachers in China have the highest social standing of the countries measured, followed by Greece, Turkey, and South Korea.
  • Teachers have the lowest social status in Israel, Brazil, the Czech Republic, and Italy.
  • The United States ranks 9th on the list.
  • There's no specific correlation between teacher status and student achievement as reported on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).
  • Fifty percent of respondents from China said they'd "probably" or "definitely" encourage their child to become a teacher, compared with 30 percent of respondents in the United States and 8 percent in Israel.
  • People in China are more likely than those in the other countries surveyed to compare teachers to doctors. In the United States, Brazil, France, and Turkey, teachers are most often compared to librarians. In Greece, Egypt, Switzerland, and many other countries, they're most often compared to social workers.
  • About 60 percent of respondents said that teachers should be paid according to their students' performance. In the United States, 80 percent of respondents agreed with this statement.
  • Teacher salaries are highest in Singapore and lowest in Egypt.
The 2013 Global Teacher Status Index is available at https://varkeygemsfoundation.org/sites/default/files/documents/2013GlobalTeacherStatusIndex.pdf.

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Message Board of Small, Good Things

Wish you had a way to hear from colleagues about those small, uplifting events that raise a teacher's mood during the worst weeks of the worst semester—like a student's hilariously honest comment or the moment a struggling 1st grader cracks the reading code? The ProTeacher social network—a free, active online teacher community—has an "Inspirations" message board that reminds users why being a K–12 teacher is worth the headaches.
On the message board, community members share anecdotes about how they've been inspired, encouraged, or delighted by a small good thing that happened during the teaching day. From "light bulb moments," to that affirming e-mail sent by a tough parent, to the time a teacher's former student turned anchorman praised her on the evening news, look to the board for hopeful stories about the teaching life.

Relevant Reads

American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom by Katrina Fried (Welcome Books, 2013)
Middle school teacher Daryl Bilandzija converted a half-acre of his school campus into a thriving "learning garden," complete with chickens, a 40-tree orchard, and a stage where students perform theater productions for the community. Michelle Evans implemented a virtual economy in her classroom to help her 6th graders learn key financial-planning skills that might help them escape from poverty. Latin teacher Bridgitte Tennis's class built a 310-foot aqueduct out of PVC piping to highlight the techniques of ancient Roman engineers.
All good teachers are heroes in their own way. But sometimes it's inspiring to read about exceptional individuals who represent the best in education. The 50 outstanding educators profiled in the beautifully illustrated American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom were recommended to author Katrina Fried through education organizations or suggested by their fellow teachers. But the final criterion for inclusion was whether, at the end of each interview, Fried was left with the thought, "I would kill to have had this person as my teacher!"
"Kids get one chance to go to high school. Shouldn't that one chance be absolutely the best experience they can possibly have? And isn't my job as a teacher to give them that?"
—Jeffrey Charbonneau, 2013 National Teacher of the Year (p. 39)

Page Turner

"It's easy to look around and say there's not much to be cheerful about. Maybe that's why good educators take a second look."
Rafe Esquith

Who's Engaged at Work?

In a Gallup survey about engagement among U.S. workers, teachers ranked fourth among the employees surveyed.

Double Take - table

Professional Titles

% Who Reported Being Engaged at Work

Managers, executives, and officials36
K–12 teachers31
Professional workers30
Clerical or office workers30
Construction or mining workers30
Government workers29
Sales workers29
Installation or repair workers29
Service workers29
Transportation workers25
Manufacturing or production workers24
Source: Gallup, Inc. (2013). State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders. Washington, DC: Author. Findings are based on phone interviews with 151,284 workers, including 7,265 K–12 teachers in 2012.

This article was published anonymously, or the author name was removed in the process of digital storage.

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