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20,000 Teachers Provide Powerful Insights On Teaching In An Era Of Change In New Primary Sources Survey

"Teachers are leading this work, but they feel their voices are absent in national and state-level discussions about changes in American education," said Vicki Phillips, Director of Education, College Ready, at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "This came through very clearly. Teachers' thoughts provide critical insights for policymakers and administrators, and their voices must guide action on the implementation of new state standards, teacher evaluations and the use of technology for collaborating with other teachers."

The views and opinions offered in Primary Sources: America's Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change include:

The Rewards and Challenges of Teaching

Overwhelmingly passionate and committed to their profession as a means to make a real difference, teachers nearly unanimously see their roles as extending beyond academic instruction to include reinforcing good citizenship, resilience and social skills. 

Still, 82 percent of teachers report that constantly changing demands is a significant challenge facing them. Additionally, 73 percent of teachers say they teach students whose reading levels span four or more grade levels, increasing the need for differentiated instruction. But nine out of ten teachers (88%) agree that the rewards of teaching outweigh its challenges, and 89 percent say they are satisfied (51%) or very satisfied (38%) in their jobs.

Common Core State Standards Implementation

While the percentage of teachers in Common Core State Standards adoption states who feel prepared to teach to the standards has grown by sixteen points since 2011 to 75 percent, nearly the same percentage (76%) of teachers surveyed say they need more time to find materials and prepare lessons to implement the Common Core successfully. Additionally, 71 percent of teachers desire more quality professional development.

To help the students in their classrooms meet the Common Core, teachers feel that instructional materials that are age-appropriate, leveled and high-interest are the most important resources. After materials, teachers point to their colleagues—both teachers and administrators.

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