A Message From Susan Goodwin, RTC Director and Adam Urbanski, Rochester Teachers Association President

 

Dear Colleagues:

For nearly two decades we have put a premium on promoting reforms that would improve teaching and learning in our schools. We believe that this can be best accomplished if we insist on the indivisibility of excellence and equity and of unionism and professionalism. Without equity, excellence is not excellence, it is a privilege. And when we promote unionism and professionalism in tandem, we strengthen both. It will take a relentless commitment to both if we are to improve significantly the learning of all our students. But it can be done­it's just that it can't be done easily or by us alone.

Of all the factors that affect learning, nothing matters more than the knowledge, skills and attitudes of teachers. Increasing the knowledge and skills of teachers cannot occur without increased access to new information about subject matter in the respective disciplines, without new knowledge about authentic pedagogy, or without greater knowledge about the students we teach. All this must then serve as a foundation for the development of teaching skills and attitudes that would be a good match with the learning needs of all our students.

That's why the Rochester Teacher Center can and must play a pivotal role in teacher learning and professional development. In a strong partnership with the RTA and all others in Rochester's education community, the RTC can do much to promote the building of learner-centered schools, the development of a more genuine teaching profession and the nurturing of a sense of community-wide shared accountability for students' success. This is also why the RTC serves the education-related needs of parents, school-related personnel and school administrators-in addition to teachers.

For teachers, the best form of professional development is the kind that is inseparable from the day-to-day work that teachers do. Reflecting on our work, conferencing about our students, learning from each other, examining students' work­those are activities no less important than workshops, conferences or coursework. Rather than looking only without for our own learning, teachers must look within. And the RTC aims to facilitate this.

Please consider becoming involved in the RTC as a learner and as a teacher. By doing so, you will be making a contribution toward our goals of building a more genuine profession for ourselves and more effective schools for all our students.

Susan Goodwin, RTC Director
Adam Urbanski, RTA President