Teaching our Children can be a Profession by Joel Klein
Suggested List of Problems and Solutions according to Joel Klein
1. P:No Solid Math or Reading Instruction
S:Better Academic Training
2. P:Letting Virtually Any College Graduate Teach
S:Recruit from Top Third of Graduates
3. P:Seniority-Based Rewards
4. P:Terminating the Most Recently Hired
S:Remove Incompetent Teachers
What I Think
The first suggested problem is definitely an issue, and I agree with the proposed solution. According to NCATE's research on What Makes a Teacher Effective?, there are "[t]wo components [that] are critically important in teacher preparation: teacher knowledge of the subject to be taught, and knowledge and skill in how to teach that subject." Better academic training would turn our future educators into more effective teachers! Our students NEED and RELY on teachers to guide them to a brighter future.
The second suggested problem is not a real problem. A teacher needs to be someone who is passionate. If you just go talk to the top third, then most of what you get will not truly be interested. Colleges have standards when they are giving out diplomas. At the University of South Alabama, students are required to keep a minimum grade-point average. The requirement is usually higher for courses directly related to your major. With that being said, I do not think we need to have teachers that have higher GPAs because we can lose the much needed passion.
The third problem is seniority-based rewards verses performance-based rewards. I have never been one to believe that seniority is better than performance when it comes to rewarding. According to Josh Dormont in How to REALLY Reward Great Teachers, "we should recognize that some teachers are better than others." He also says the we need to "build a system that recognizes excellence, promotes growth, and embraces leadership." The teachers that are AMAZING should be teaching their fellow teachers strategies! It is all about the students. Just because they didn't get in your class doesn't mean they don't deserve the best education!
The fourth problem and solution suggests that we shift from terminating the most recently hired teachers to firing incompetent teachers. Part of my last paragraph touched on how to share teaching skills with others which would reduce the amount of incompetent teachers. However, that will not help all teachers become more effective. I think that this is definitely an issue, and the solution makes sense. in her article, Does 'Last Hired, First Fired' Really Make Sense?, Heather Wolpert-Gawron asks why we have "to maintain a system that may harbor teachers who are of questionable quality, while extinguishing the careers of many who have great potential?" This just proves that we need to get rid of the bad and keep the good.
In conclusion, a teacher's "worth" is not how long they've been teaching or what degree they have. A teacher's worth should be determined by how effective their teaching methods are. I understand that not all teachers have had great education to be able to provide amazing teaching methods! However, they should be willing to learn. They can collaborate online or in the staff room in order to get great ideas! Teachers should have passion for their students and truly want the best for them. That is the type of teacher I am going to be. If I am not as effective as my students need for me to be, I will adapt my teaching methods to what my students need.
Thanks for reading my blog!
Jennifer L. Cole