Transforming Education-March 2016

TE Ena

Who Will Be Teaching Our Children?

Teaching has been front and center both in the media and on many legislative agendas this year. Concern has been raised about teacher shortages, a lack of interest by high school students in pursing teaching, and the future of the profession in general.

Many of you have been reading this column long enough to know that, while I will never deny that there are issues, I would prefer to spend my time, your time, and our children’s time focusing on solutions.

Ultimately, it is upon all of us to cultivate the seeds of new educators so that our profession continues to grow.

So what are WE in the Butler College of Education doing?

  • Recruiting the strongest, brightest, and most passionate educators that we can find by hosting future educator days to bring high school students to campus and collaborating with our colleagues in local schools and our Butler admissions office.
  • Advocating for the profession by inviting our students and faculty to engage with policymakers at events like the Indiana Colleges of Teacher Education’s Day at the Statehouse. The confidence that our students gain from these experiences allows them to eloquently talk about issues, just like COE student Nicole Vetter recently did with The Indianapolis Star.
  • Elevating the COE and education in national-level conversations when our graduates are selected to participate in activities such as conversations at the White House

(Editor’s Note: While Dean Shelley would be too humble to include this in her own column, the COE was also elevated to the national level recently when she was awarded the Edward C. Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.)

What can YOU do?

  • Share what makes your work great. When we balance the discourse about the profession with stories of hope, encouragement, and joy, then we elevate those who are doing the work and those who might join us in the work.
  • Find that one young person each year that you will encourage to be a teacher. It might be a student, a neighbor, a family member, or even a strong student you read about in the newspaper. While we would love for every great teacher to apply to Butler, we recognize that the collective good of our profession is counting on you to flood outstanding teacher preparation programs with high quality candidates.
  • Offer to mentor a young teacher just beginning his or her career.This can be an especially helpful contribution if you are retired or perhaps staying at home to care for family but want to stay connected to the profession. Time and again, our young alums tell us that they wish they had a mentor/coach who wasn’t directly tied to their job or evaluation, but rather who was someone they could turn to and be completely honest with about their struggles.

When we provide this kind of support, we help to ensure that great teachers will stay in the profession.

Who will be teaching our children? You will be teaching our children, but, for most of you, an entire new generation of teachers will be joining you before the end of your career.

What can we all do to ensure that your newest colleagues will be the ones you want to hand the reins to, as they teach children for generations to come?

Until next month,

Dr. Ena Shelley
Dean, College of Education