Thoughts from a reflective educator.
After a quick brainstorming session (via a Google Doc shared to Twitter), here are 16 things teachers consider to be examples of professional autonomy.
In his book "Drive" Daniel Pink describes the fundamental characteristics which motivate people and personal autonomy is high on his list. For teachers (and other professions) this translates to professional autonomy while they are at work. We will work harder and be more effective if we are given the personal authority over our own sphere of possible influence. Should there be oversight of what teachers do? Definitely. Should this oversight include micro-managing teachers to the point of turning us into mindless automatons? Definitely not.
At the school I work at, many of these things are already true. I can honestly say that this a major reason why I love working at this school. The people I work with are amazing too, but I have worked with amazing staff when we didn't have autonomy and it wasn't a pleasant experience. You can put the most amazing teaching staff together, but if you don't give them some control and allow them to use their professional judgement they will be powerless to act to make your school a better place.
Check out what Daniel Pink has to say about motivation.
David is a mathematics teacher and a learning specialist for technology at Stratford Hall in Vancouver, BC. He has been teaching since 2002, and has worked in Brooklyn, London, and Bangkok before moving back to Canada. He has his Masters degree in Educational Technology from UBC, and is the co-author of a mathematics textbook. He has been published in ISTE's Leading and Learning, Educational Technology Solutions, The Software Developers Journal, The Bangkok Post and Edutopia. He blogs with the Cooperative Catalyst, and is the Assessment group facilitator for Edutopia. He has also helped organize the first Edcamp in Canada, and TEDxKIDS@BC.