It's hard to view my career in stories. Maybe it's not even my story. Maybe it’s the story of my dad. I grew up in South Chicago. My dad was a preschool teacher. And everywhere we went, it was like, ‘El maestro, el maestro!’ And so that made me a celebrity by extension: la hija del maestro.
Teacher autonomy refers to the professional independence of teachers in schools, especially their ability to make decisions about what (and how) they teach.
Research studies related to teacher autonomy:
- The relationship between distributed leadership and teacher innovativeness: Mediating roles of teacher autonomy and professional collaboration (2022)
- The relations between urban high school science students’ agentic mindset, agentic engagement, and perceived teacher autonomy support and control (2022)
- Teacher Autonomy, Motivation, and Job Satisfaction: Perceptions of Elementary School Teachers According to Self-Determination Theory (2021)
- Collective teacher innovativeness in 48 countries: Effects of teacher autonomy, collaborative culture, and professional learning (2021)
- Perceived Teacher Autonomy Support and Students’ Deep Learning: The Mediating Role of Self-Efficacy and the Moderating Role of Perceived Peer Support (2021)
- Teachers’ autonomy deconstructed: Irish and Finnish teachers’ perceptions of decision-making and control (2019)
- Teacher Autonomy: How Does It Relate to Job Satisfaction and Retention? (2020)
- The Relationship between Teacher Autonomy and Stress, Work Satisfaction, Empowerment, and Professionalism (2005)
Explore stories, interviews, and videos related to teacher autonomy below.
I know as a parent that I know my kids really well. I know what their strengths are, I know what their weaknesses are, and I have the idea of what I want my kids to have as a part of my family. As a teacher, I know that teachers bring a very different perspective.
The fear in my mind of saying the wrong thing is a fear I have as a teacher constantly. And that scares me as an educator who constantly is trying to create positive dialogue that considers all sides of the debate.
I went to school to be a journalist. My financial aid package required that I take on a work-study job. So during my first year of school, I worked with Jumpstart, an AmeriCorps program where they put college kids in Title I preschools.
Early on in my career, I was more afraid of talking to parents. But I had a principal who said, ‘If you're not calling them first with a positive, then when you call them with a negative, it's going to be harder.’ So I tried to do that. And I have had great success with parents trusting me and knowing that I have their kids’ best interests at heart.
I have one student who really sticks out in my mind. I had him in my class when I taught seventh grade, and then he was in my class again when I switched to eighth grade. So I got to have him in my math class two years in a row. And he would do a lot of odd jobs around the room — hanging posters, things like that.