This year’s MetLife survey: Good news for teacherpreneurs

Several years ago, with support from MetLife Foundation, CTQ helped make the case for teacherpreneurs—classroom experts who teach students regularly but also have time, space, and reward to incubate and execute bold pedagogical and policy ideas.

MetLife Survey of the American Teacher

Several years ago, with support from MetLife Foundation, CTQ helped make the case for teacherpreneurs—classroom experts who teach students regularly but also have time, space, and reward to incubate and execute bold pedagogical and policy ideas.

Since then, and with generous funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rose Community Foundation, we have begun to cultivate and pay for teacherpreneurs in Colorado (Jessica Keigan and Jessica Cuthbertson) and Florida (Megan Allen and Ryan Kinser) as they lead Common Core and teacher evaluation reforms, create virtual learning communities, and organize National Board Certified Teachers as online mentors. And with continued funding from MetLife Foundation, Seattle-based teacherpreneur Noah Zeichner is leading work at CTQ to launch an international network of teacher leaders to fuel a 21st-century teaching profession.

We have been embraced by forward-thinking administrators (and program officers) who want to transcend the 20th-century debates over teaching and learning. They want to ensure that all students are college- and career-ready and help blur the lines of distinction between those who teach in schools and those who lead them. But we have faced resistance from a number of reformers who do not believe teachers can or should lead.

Now MetLife, with its 29th annual survey, continues to shed light on teachers and the future of their profession. This survey speaks volumes to our concept of teacherpreneurism.

The latest poll has found that 23 percent of America’s teachers—or about 700,000 of them—are “extremely” or “very interested” in serving in a hybrid role as a teacher and leader. (And about half are at least “somewhat interested” in such an assignment.)

These findings are compelling, especially when set in the following context: The vast majority of the same teachers (84 percent) are “not very” or “not at all” interested in becoming a principal, and with good reason. The same MetLife survey revealed that 75 percent of our nation’s principals believe their job has become “too complex,” and almost half (48 percent) report they are “under great stress several days a week.”

It is time to get over fallacious boundaries between teachers and administrators and rebuild the profession that makes all others possible. It is time to create more time for teachers to incubate and execute their own ideas—making the job of “principal-ing” more manageable and encouraging more of our best teachers to lead without leaving. Thanks to MetLife for teaching us that 700,000 teachers are ready to do so—and continuing to support us and our new book, TEACHERPRENEURS, which documents how innovative teachers lead without leaving.

  • SusanGraham

    Other ways to lead

    It is unfortunate that the definition of “Education Leadership” is, in most cases, is limited to School Administrator. It is tragic when gifted teachers are forced to choose between their classroom and serving as education leaders. At a time when the demands on our education system are high,  resources are limited, and reform is promoted a wealth of teacher leadership goes untapped because of an artificial barrier between leading and teaching.