“Hybrid” Teachers & Engaging Parents

Part Three Of The MetLife Survey Of The American Teacher has just been released.¬† I’ve written about the first two parts¬† in my other blog.

The third part of this extensive survey of teachers and students is titled Teaching As A Career and “examines collaboration in the context of teacher professional growth, experience level and career path.”

I was struck by its section on what the survey called “hybrid teachers”:

Hybrid approaches to teaching roles are common. More than
half of teachers (56%) and half of principals (49%) agree that
some teachers in their school combine part-time classroom
teaching with other roles or responsibilities in their school or
district. Teachers from a range of school types, including
school level and proportion of low income or minority
students, report similar experiences with this hybrid approach.
However, secondary school principals are more likely than
elementary school principals to say that there are teachers in
their school who have hybrid teaching positions (60% vs. 43%).

The hybrid role is appealing to many teachers for themselves.
Nearly four in ten teachers (37%) agree they would like to
teach in the classroom part-time combined with other roles or
responsibilities in their school or district, including 46% of new
teachers (five years or less experience).

This passage reminded me of a few lines I was asked to write by the Teachers Leaders Network about my vision for a “hybrid” teacher who was partially released from the classroom to spend more time engaging parents.

Here is what I wrote:

Teachers would spend time not just talking with parents about their children, but also try to learn from parents the hopes and dreams they have for themselves — in addition to the challenges they face and what they worry about at night. Through the conversations they have with parents, and the trust that they start with and can build upon, they can help parents connect with other parents who have those same hopes, dreams, worries, and challenges and help them, in turn, to connect to other community institutions so they can launch effective public and collective action to accomplish those dreams and confront those challenges. Through this kind of “agitational” role, teachers can help confront the many issues that have their basis outside the school house walls (unemployment, safety, health care, etc) but that have a huge effect on what goes on in the classroom.

Teachers would need to develop the capacity to recognize that they don’t have all the answers — that, in terms of organizing, their most important tool is their ears and not their mouths. They need to recognize that as they build the trusting and reciprocal relationships needed to move this kind of effort forward, they not only have to listen to people’s stories; they have to open up and share their own.

It would be nice, and an effective strategy for student achievement, if schools would encourage this kind of a “hybrid.”

For another take on this part of the study, you might want to read Heather Wolpert-Gawron’s blog post.

3 thoughts on ““Hybrid” Teachers & Engaging Parents

  1. Pingback: “Hybrid” Teachers & Engaging Parents | Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...

  2. It’s the first time I have heard of the term hybrid teacher and it’s much more positive than just “part time” teacher. Your idea of using the extra time or other time in the working week to connect with parents is interesting. How many school districts will finance the idea that home factors contribute so heavily to a a child’s learning?

  3. Ben,

    It’s a good question. A number of districts put a substantial sum into teacher home visits now. Perhaps, for them, it won’t be such a huge step when – and if — we get pass the present funding crisis?


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