Photo: Rose Else-Mitchell, HMH Chief Learning Officer, with podcast interviewee Amanda Rack, a teacher in San Marcos, California.
Teaching is rarely "an event." I know many teachers can feel they have fairly invisible lives beyond the classroom. Last year when HMH commissioned an ethnographic research study of K–12 teachers in America, there was plenty that was revealed during the time we got to spend with these teachers, learning what motivates them and irks them, how they manage at school and at home, and even their hacks for one of the world's most underrated, intellectually- and emotionally-complex jobs. And, for what it’s worth, teaching is one of the least likely professions to be disrupted by automation in the coming decades.
This research, along with the HMH Annual Educator Confidence Report and the professional learning work our consultants do every day, continues to help us better understand the needs of our first and best constituent: Teachers. As part of the ethnographic study, our research partner spent time observing and interviewing 16 teachers in different towns and cities from morning until late at night as they prepared lessons, taught, and graded papers long past their own family’s bedtime.
Inspired by all the teachers we met in the study and their candor in sharing their experiences inside and outside of school, I wanted to continue the journey by bringing forth some of these stories in a podcast series of conversations. So we began visiting classrooms and talking with educators who perform hundreds of small, but uncommon, acts every day as they provide learning oversight, equity, and nurturing to 55 million Americans—the country’s next generations.