We heard a wide range of thoughts and feelings about teachers in Baltimore City. Many told us about outstanding teachers and about how valuable great teachers are. There were plenty of anecdotes about how caring and professional teachers in the city are and about how much respect and praise they deserve. One participant from Greater Charles Village advocated for “[making] good teachers feel like the heroes they are.”
On the other end of the spectrum, many participants expressed the belief that there are too many inexperienced or unqualified teachers in the district. They called for increased mentoring for new teachers, as they questioned whether teacher training programs adequately prepare new teachers for the challenges they often encounter in City Schools. Participants advocated for building teachers’ cultural competency during their training to help them understand the communities in which they are working.
Other participants separately shared a belief that some teachers do not truly care about students or their work. To them it feels like these teachers are not truly invested in their students and their work but are there simply because it’s a job. These participants called for the district to hire teachers who truly care about their students and saw this as necessary for student success.
To address some of the challenges raised, participants suggested that the district should hire teachers who take a joyful approach to teaching, are committed to building relationships with students (inside and outside of the classroom), and understand that the demands of the profession are not limited to the school day. Participants clearly appreciated the challenging job that teachers in City Schools have and advocated for increased pay for teachers. They also called for more personalized professional development for teachers on topics such as classroom management, instructional strategies, and the communities their schools are situated in.