Published by Georgia Public Broadcasting, May 23, 2018, by Expanded-Impact Teacher Tu Willingham
In many businesses, “efficiency” is a top goal. In work with students, a focus on efficiency may sound cold—but take a look at all the work I must do before I can even begin instruction in my classroom: Take attendance; grade papers; give meaningful feedback on assignments; collect assignments; implement educational technology; handle discipline concerns; provide remediation for struggling students.
Even as a 24-year teacher with the experience and ability to intuit the specific needs of a class, I find it difficult to effectively execute all these tasks efficiently enough to create more instructional time.
And gaining any time we can for instruction is crucial at any school, but especially at ones like mine—where nearly all students come from economically challenged homes.
I think we’ve found a way. Beginning in 2016, I became an Opportunity Culture expanded-impact teacher (EIT), in which I teach more students than usual—40 per class instead of 25. EITs are selected for their prior record of success with student learning and are paid more (within regular school budgets); it’s an especially effective model for schools that are hard to staff.