It's Time to Treat Teachers as Talent

When we think about talent, we might imagine well-known athletes and artists, trained in and uniquely masterful of their craft. Or perhaps we imagine intellectuals and subject matter experts, educated in their chosen field, equipped with foundational knowledge to put into practice, and honing valuable skills through experience. 

We trust that talent like professional athletes, designers, lawyers, scientists, and architects know their craft well enough that they also have ownership over how they want to continue to grow within their respective areas of expertise. 

In addition, employers understand that competitive pay is a major component of retaining talent in all industries, but that autonomy, respect, and trust often play an equally essential role.

When it comes to the world of K-12 public education, however, the system does not treat educators as talent. In fact, public school teachers in particular are vulnerable to and often experience criticism and questioning from people both within and outside of the field. 

Yet, no matter their experience level, teachers are: 

  • Educated and trained in their field.
  • Passionate about doing their jobs well.
  • Eager to grow in their areas of expertise through meaningful learning.
  • At their best when equipped with reliable support systems, trust, and autonomy.
  • Adaptable to a work environment that’s routinely impacted by the world outside the “office.”
  • Talent.

It certainly makes sense that school and district administrators, parents, and community members would be interested in the level of instruction, engagement, and student success rate at the neighborhood public school. 

However, when teachers are met with scrutiny rather than support, resources, and autonomy, the risk of losing the strong and invaluable talent responsible for shaping young learners is great.

To combat this, we need to build talent development systems that support, nurture, and elevate teachers. We need to start treating teachers as talent. 

RELATED: How Individualized, Competency-Based Coaching Can Elevate Teachers


The Significance of Talent Development and Support

To ensure the continued growth and success of both educators and students, education companies, such as engage2learn, are increasingly focusing on coaching, talent development systems, and support for teachers. These comprehensive programs aim to enhance teachers' skills, instill confidence, and provide the necessary resources to help educators develop the skills necessary to ensure students' success.


The 5 Pillars of Talent Development 

  • Culture & Strategy

By intentionally designing your ideal school culture and engaging in long-term educational strategic planning that helps chart a course to achieve your goals for learners. e2L helps public schools create a locally designed vision for learning that ensures your district can design, develop, and implement a thriving and inclusive school culture that meets the needs of every learner.

  • Career Development

Focusing on career advancement and talent development ensures that school districts can nurture future leaders by investing in their current talent. e2L assists public schools in strategically developing compensation and incentive plans and systems. These plans ensure educators and staff have clear and compelling career pathways while providing the district a healthy pipeline of emerging leaders. This keeps the school or district on track to achieve its goals.

Talent development plays a crucial role in establishing a strong foundation for educators. It begins by identifying teachers' individual strengths and areas in which they want to progress in their careers. This process allows for the creation of personalized development plans. By recognizing their unique talents, educators gain self-awareness, fostering a sense of purpose in their teaching practice.

  • Coaching

Supportive teacher coaching is an integral part of talent development systems. Experienced educators, serving as coaches, offer valuable guidance and feedback to teachers. These coaching relationships foster professional growth, boost confidence, and alleviate the challenges faced by educators at all stages of their careers.

Research consistently shows that ongoing, job-embedded coaching is the most effective way to ensure that teachers and staff feel more supported and confident in their positions. engage2learn’s team of diverse and passionate educators provides evidence-based coaching that ensures staff members are developing the skills and competencies needed for success. In fact, they can even teach internal coaches and leaders to implement the same coaching system that has been used with public schools across the country.

  • Competency Pathways

Centering talent development on core, job-specific competencies ensures that educators and staff are growing in the skills needed to achieve the unique goals and priorities of their school or district. e2L collaborates with public schools to align professional learning with essential competency pathways. These pathways are developed based on extensive research on best practices. School districts have the flexibility to modify rubrics to better align with their priorities, utilize other state or national professional learning rubrics, or receive assistance in customizing a set of standards specifically designed for their district.

  • Connected Data

e2L’s integrated coaching platform, GroweLab, provides school leaders with professional growth analytics that can be correlated and connected to student and staff outcomes data. This correlation and connection create insights that empower educators to identify precisely which programs are driving improved results and which are not. With this correlated and connected data, resource-strained educators no longer need to spend valuable time and money on unproven programs, technology platforms, student data analysis, or training.

Teachers are lifelong learners, and their professional growth directly impacts their students' academic achievements. A well-structured talent development framework emphasizes continuous learning, offering opportunities for teachers to enhance their pedagogical skills. Coaching teachers, providing online courses on various teaching methodologies, classroom management, integrating technology, and more can empower educators with innovative and effective teaching strategies.


The Benefits of Talent Development 

Promoting Collaboration and Networking

Isolated teaching practices limit the potential for growth and innovation. Talent development systems encourage collaboration among teachers, creating a supportive network that fosters the exchange of ideas and best practices. A collaborative environment empowers teachers to learn from one another, find solutions to challenges, and celebrate each other's successes.

Cultivating Leadership Qualities

Effective teaching goes beyond imparting knowledge; it involves inspiring and leading students to reach their full potential. Leadership coaching for educators aims to cultivate leadership qualities in teachers, equipping them with the skills to become instructional leaders. Empowered educators serve as positive role models for their students, motivating them to achieve excellence in both academic and personal spheres.

Harnessing Technology for Personalized Learning

In the digital age, technology has revolutionized education. Talent development systems equip teachers with the necessary tech skills to leverage digital tools for personalized learning experiences. Integrating technology in the classroom enhances engagement, differentiation, and student motivation, allowing teachers to cater to diverse learning needs.

Supportive Teacher Coaching Programs

Supportive personalized coaching is an integral part of talent development systems. Experienced educators provide valuable guidance and feedback to teachers. These coaching relationships foster professional growth, boost confidence, and alleviate the challenges faced by educators at all stages of their careers.


What does treating teachers as talent look like?

The details of these efforts will look different based on local context, but overall, treating teachers as talent requires:

01: Professional Learning Competencies

Align all talent development efforts around leveled key professional competencies in order to simplify educator support, eliminate burnout, and measure growth over time.

02: Evidence-Based Coaching

Replace compliance-based, one-size-fits-all PD and observation-based feedback with a job-embedded talent development and individualized coaching model that enhances agency because it is based on evidence of practice.

03: Individualized Pathways Toward Mastery

Expand opportunities for talent development to meet teachers’ individual needs, learning styles, and growth goals, creating personalized pathways toward mastery of skills and competencies.

04: Advanced Educator Growth Analytics

Implement an edtech platform designed to measure educator growth and enable data-informed decisions around talent development, allowing you to abandon initiatives or programs that neither align to competencies nor produce impactful learner outcomes.


What’s at stake if we don’t start treating teachers as talent?

We can’t forget that public education is the heart of a free and thriving culture and society, which is exactly what’s at stake if we don’t commit to treating teachers as talent. 

Because we know that the most powerful lever in a student’s success during a K-12 education is the teacher, the work to support and treat teachers as talent has to start today – especially in the context of a national teacher shortage. For teachers to be what students need, talent development and support systems have to be what teachers need. 

Luckily, we already have the talent development systems, methodologies, and platform in place to start treating teachers as talent! And as a proud partner of hundreds of public school districts doing this work already, we know that it works. 

As I always say: Everyone needs a coach. Nobody needs a critic.

RELATED: Measuring the Impact of e2L Coaching on Reading & Math Scores