I'm sure many read this article and focused on that fact that teachers are currently being demonized as being uncaring, greedy individuals who are only in the profession to make some money while getting summers off. When I read this line, however, I began thinking about a conversation I had in my recent Teacher Leadership PLC meeting regarding how to reframe the career path of educators. Known as the RESPECT Project, the US Department of Education is trying to reframe what it would look like to be a teacher longterm.
At the moment the only improvement a teacher has in terms of autonomy of decision-making and increase in salary is to go into administration. In our conversation we discussed the possibility of having different tracks of teacher development. Some would focus on becoming administrators and get important, valid training. Others would remain in the classroom but be given "release time" in order to work on special projects.
An example of this could be a Teacher-Researcher. Instead of teaching the traditional five classes per day, s/he could teach two and use the extra time to plan, implement, and write a research paper on the affects of poverty in education at his or her school. Another example could be a Teacher-Outreach Coordinator, an individual responsible for fostering community buy-in from the neighborhood around the school.
While these roles might be contracted currently, oftentimes it would be more useful to have people connected directly with the most important part of the school - the students - in order to affect change and support the mission of education.
I do not think these roles are coming around the corner now, but I hope that they are being thought of deeply and critically in order to promote what, at the moment, is a career that has been de-professionalized.