Earlier this fall the department launched its inaugural Teacher Advisory Council. The council consists of the nine finalists for the 2014-15 Tennessee Teacher of the Year Award and the three Grand Division winners from 2013-14. Members of this new group will offer insight, feedback, and advice on issues that impact teachers across the state. Teacher of the Year finalist Tracy Harmon fills us in on what she hopes to accomplish this year.
By Tracy Harmon
We all know that many factors outside of school contribute to a student’s performance, including socioeconomic background, individual experiences, plus many others. Not surprisingly though, research suggests that among school-related factors like resources, facilities, and leadership, teachers have the biggest impact on student learning. Since teachers play such a vital role in student achievement, it is imperative that teachers are part of making education policies and laws. I am thrilled that our state leaders are listening to teachers, and I am excited to be chosen to represent my region as part of the Teacher Advisory council.
What I Hope to Accomplish on the Teacher Advisory Council:
- Weigh in on important decisions regarding the teaching profession such as teacher evaluation, implementation of higher standards, professional development opportunities, time for collaboration with other teachers, and ways to improve the teaching profession.
- Engage and communicate with teachers in my region regarding decisions being made by state leaders.
- Forge links between policymakers and teachers that keep the communication lines open for future decision making.
By incorporating more teacher voice into the policy-making process, teachers will feel a sense of empowerment that will encourage them to take a greater responsibility for the changes taking place in our schools. The Teacher Advisory Council is a positive step in giving teachers a voice across the state on important educational issues that directly affect them.
Tracy Harmon is a mathematics teacher at Franklin High School in Williamson County and a 2014-15 Teacher of the Year finalist.