Teacher Excellence at Sunshine State Academy
Learning to teach does not occur over one or two college semesters and highly effective teachers strive to learn throughout their entire careers. Teacher persistence is one characteristic of individuals who have a mastery orientation to achievement, which is characterized by attributing one’s success to high ability and effort. Teacher persistence is a disposition manifested in the day-to-day actions of teaching. A persistent teacher will implement various instructional strategies to address the learning style of each individual student. A persistent teacher will use conflict resolution approaches to managing challenging situations with the knowledge that preschool students need time to internalize conflict resolution strategies. Persistence also affects teachers’ work with colleagues, administrators, and parents. Persistence may promote teacher efficacy, or teachers’ belief in their ability to teach skillfully and affect valued student outcomes.
This may be significant because teacher efficacy has been found to be associated with student achievement, with teachers’ use of effective teaching strategies, and with teachers’ use of and willingness to adopt reform-oriented teaching strategies (Ross, 1995; Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). Teachers who do not persist are less likely to develop their teaching skills and experience teaching success, both of which are critical for fostering confidence in one’s teaching efficacy. Bandura (1995) noted that it is not achieving success easily, but rather, achieving success by overcoming difficulties that fosters a more robust sense of efficacy. Persistence is part of an adaptive teacher response to teaching setbacks.
Teachers must persist in order to achieve success after initial teaching setbacks. Teachers with a high degree of efficacy regard student difficulties in learning as challenges to their own creativity and ingenuity. They actively search for better techniques to help students learn. Thus, a teacher with a high degree of efficacy is not expected to know all the answers to reaching every student, but will persist in looking for looking for alternatives (p. 46). Energetic persistence is often necessary for effective teacher reflection (Eby & Kujawa, 1998), as the problems that require professionals to reflect are typically complex and uncertain (Schon, 1987). Persistence is critical for the success of educational reforms that call for changes in classroom teaching. When new teaching approaches require students to take greater responsibility for their learning, teachers may also have to persist to work through the student resistance that the new approach often engenders. The persistence this requires is remarkable, for the approach that “works” with one student or one class may not work with others. In this situation, the responsive teacher then reinvents his or her teaching once again. Glickman and Tamashiro (1982) found that
teachers who had lesser confidence in their teaching effectiveness were more likely to leave the
profession than were those with greater confidence in their teaching effectiveness. Teacher-driven change from within as teacher leadership reinforces the raw potential for teachers to become a serious force in school policy. Literature on teacher leadership is sparse, and some critics would argue that the products of teacher training institutions are not really qualified to take on more than the day-to-day responsibilities of managing a classroom full of children. Still individual teachers support their colleagues, are collaborative, are often role models for students and are especially effective in mentoring or peer-coaching.
Teachers offer something beyond expertise. Their knowledge of children and subject matter, empathy, dedication, technique, sensitivity to communities and families, readiness to help, team spirit, ability to communicate, and many more teacher attributes also are an essential side of school leadership. The significance of the studies allow preschool educators increased awareness of their leadership characteristics and potential, as well as more voice in early childhood education legislation and policy at the state and national level. Policy directed toward increasing the professional status and preparation of early childhood educators will benefit our youngest learners everywhere in the United State
Bandura, A. (1995). Exercise of personal and collective efficacy in changing societies. In A.
Eby, J. W., & Kujawa, E. (1998). Reflective planning, teaching, and evaluation: K-12 (3rd ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.
Glickman, C. G., & Tamashiro, R. T. (1982). A comparison of first-year, fifth-year, and former
teachers on efficacy, ego development, and problem solving. Psychology in the Schools,
Ross, J. (1995). Strategies for enhancing teachers’ beliefs in their effectiveness: Research on a
school improvement hypothesis. Teachers College Record, 97(2), 227-250.
Schon, D. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Tschannen-Moran, M., Woolfolk Hoy, A., & Hoy, W. (1998). Teacher efficacy: Its meaning and
measure. Review of Educational Research, 68, 202-248.