The Impact of Teacher Commitment on Student Achievement
Brianna M. Barnette
This essay addresses the issue of teacher commitment in American schools as well as the impact of teacher commitment on student achievement. By focusing on researched trends, the relationship between teacher dispositions and performance on students, as well as historical and biblical perspectives of the impact and role of the teacher, teacher commitment can be traced to being a distinctive factor in the achievement of students in their current classrooms and beyond their placement with certain teachers. The implications of the major impact of teacher commitment on student achievement shows that more needs to be done to encourage and motivate teacher commitment but also retain those teachers with exceptional commitment to their students, the profession, and their educational organizations.
Keywords: teacher commitment, student achievement, loyalty, passion, transformational leadership
Raymond Fox (1964) shared that the strength of any profession depends upon the degree of commitment of its members to the goals and purpose of the systems. With teaching being included in his foresight, he suggested that the most important question to consider is not one of commitment but rather to what are your organization members committed? Though it has been over 50 years since Fox (1964) made these insightful conclusions, his question still remains at the forefront of educational improvement: what are the impacts of teacher commitment on student achievement? Altun (2017) defines commitment and associates teacher commitment with its value within the school setting. Mirroring the work of Fox (1964), Altun (2017) was able to conclude that teachers with greater commitment essentially provide students with a more worthwhile education and learning experiences because they are constantly evolving to best meet the needs of their students.
Over the course of my career as an educator, I have had the opportunity and responsibility of observing teachers in order to improve my craft as a an educator as well as the craft of others. From my observations, I have noticed that there are many variants relating to the styles and personalities of teachers. Though this is expected and often necessary to meet the needs of different learners, another place that I have noticed variations are in the level of commitment related to teaching. There are some teachers that come to work hours before their contracted times and stay well into the night in order to prepare for their students and there are also teachers who come on time and leave early. I have also noticed teachers that are willing and wanting to build relationships with their students and create engaging and effective lessons in order to provide their students with life-changing experiences and there are also teachers that do the bare-minimum and wonder why their students fail to achieve at high levels. I have even noticed theses discrepancies among my own teammates and as I continue to notice the variations of teacher commitment, I am alarmed by some teacher’s lack of commitment. Furthermore, I am intrigued to learn how these differences in commitment impact student achievement. My personal dispositions, as a teacher who is fully committed to the profession and my students, I expected to find that teachers who are more committed to their students’ learning achieve higher student achievement among their students. This essay will answer the question, what impact does teacher commitment have on student achievement?
Learning Theory Association
There are many educators that feel satisfied with their jobs but there is a growing turnover rate in the field of education (Blackburn, Bunch, & Haynes, 2017). The lack of commitment to the profession is a reason for high teacher turnover which impacts student achievement. Coladarci (1992) was able to conclude that the more efficacious a teacher perceived himself or herself, the higher the commitment is to the teaching profession.
Bullough and Hall-Kenyon (2012) found that teachers with a service ethic, a high commitment to their students, and teacher engagement with students positively affect student achievement and may predict a stronger commitment to the profession. Becker and Luthar (2002) suggest that teacher and school experiences play a crucial role in the academic and personal achievement of students. Altun (2017) examined the role of teacher commitment in student achievement. Altun also reviews that teachers with greater commitment create more positive and effective relationships with their students. Altun also diagrams the value of teacher commitment at the core of quality education which effects the promotion and retention of educators, their work performance, loyalty to the school and their students, in addition to its impacts on student achievement.
McKinlay, et. al. (2018) was able to conclude that professionalizing the profession, increasing pay, improving work conditions, and providing more teacher support will help to retain teachers. The teachers with the highest efficacy and commitment to their students’ learning have higher and more positive impacts on student performance in addition to mental health and social-emotional wellness (Becker ; Luthar, 2002). Ross and Gray (2006) found that transformational leadership contributes to teacher commitment to organizational value which is a powerful mediator of commitment to school-community partnerships and a mediator of commitment to school mission and to the school’s professional community.
The principal’s role offers a variety of opportunities to improve the agency beliefs of staff. We particularly
recommend three. First, principals should overtly influence teacher interpretations of
school and classroom achievement data. The critical leadership task is to help
teachers identify cause-effect relationships that link their actions to desired outcomes.
Teachers need to recognize which of their skills contribute to student achievement,
that they control the acquisition and exercise these skills, and that they need to take
responsibility for the successes and failures of their students. Especially important is
the creation of a self-correcting environment in which self-perceptions are credibly
Transformational Leadership and Collective Teacher Efficacy 193
linked to outcomes, avoiding defeatist downward spirals and delusional upward
spirals. Second, principals should help teachers set feasible, proximal goals to
increase the likelihood of mastery experiences. For example, Gibson (2001) found
that goal-setting training contributed to the individual and collective efficacy beliefs of
nursing teams. Third, principals need to provide teachers with access to high quality
professional development and provide constructive feedback on their skill acquisition.
Roberts and Moreno (2003) found that science teachers’ self-efficacy perceptions
failed to align with their knowledge of effective science teaching methods. We are
convinced that efficacy beliefs are most powerful when they are grounded in accurate
Teacher commitment can be defined as a teacher’s loyalty and passion for their students, the profession of teaching, and their school or district. Student achievement can be defined as the level of performance and success reached by students. Transformational leadership can be defined as the leadership approach that encourages the cultivation of other leaders through the involvement of the organization’s followers or members in decision-making and vision execution. The understanding of these terms are necessary to the development of the impact of teacher commitment on student achievement because teacher commitment and student achievement are the main topics of this research with transformational leadership being a proven method for combating issues related to the topic.
Additional areas for research include ways to predict the level of teacher commitment and more practical incentives or programs for retaining committed teachers. These areas of research are lacking because this is a sub-field of education that has always been an issue but in the recent years following the recession of the 2000s and more rigorous and tedious teaching requirements, in addition to the push for performance-based and pay-contingent teacher evaluation systems has been brought to the forefront of educational disparaties. With issues of educational equity and commenness also being on the national agenda, teacher efficacy has also had a growing level of concern.
Titus 2:7-8 teaches that in everything set them the children an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. As educators of young adults, it is imperative that educators take their roles seriously by being an example of commitment. If we expect our students to be efficacious, passionate, timely, helpful, scholarly and integrous, the teacher is one of the first examples. Being a teacher that lacks commitment only showcases to students the lack of seriousness as it relates to their education and learning. If the teacher does not care, why should they?
Luke 6:40 states that students are not greater than their teacher. But, the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher. We must take our jobs seriously because students who see and understand the rules and expectations of the teacher will assume the role of someone who is committed, and thus, be like his teacher. For Matthew 5:16 tells us to in the same way, let our light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Though the impact of a loving and caring teacher who commits their life to God’s work — the work of a teacher — may not be apparent to students and teachers at the time, in due time, the acknowledgement of the work and the reaping of the sewn harvest will show true and effective in aiding in student achievement, and in some cases, being a determining factor of student success.
In conclusion, committed teachers are essential influences on student growth and introduces passion as the driving force behind the most committed teachers which, can be in the form of subject knowledge passion, current world event passions, or passion for children (Mart 2013). In Matthew 5, the Bible tells us that May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through commitment to our children and their learning, we glorify God by showing truth in his works of allowing the child’s mind to grow and prosper simply through positive relationships with, commitment to, and passion towards our children who are His children. The extra support, amount of time investment, work ethic, and professional development that committed teachers give to their students is incomparable to their success within their current classrooms and future endeavors. The difference a committed teacher versus and uncommitted teacher makes can make or break a child’s educational growth. When we as educators strive for greatness and submit to our work, our students benefit. Though there are many sacrifices teachers have to make in order to commit to their students and their work, administrators and district personnel officers should make it their business to celebrate and compensate the influence of committed teachers who, make all the difference in the world.
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