Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Teachers are overstressed and undervalued

Tonight at 9 PM Eastern, I will be an on-air guest for Huffington Post as we discuss how teachers are overstressed and undervalued.

Tune in live here.

Here is the archived video:

This discussion was inspired by Randy Turner's post A Warning to Young People: Don't become a teacher.

My position on this topic can be summarized by a few key points:

  • Teaching is one of the most important professions we have on this planet, and I love teaching.
  • Would I encourage my children to become a teacher? Yes, but I would make it clear that they have a real challenge ahead of them if they desire to teach the way they aspire to teach.
  • Getting rid of teachers is easy. We treat them so badly they leave. In some jurisdictions 50% of teachers quit before 5 years on the job. The question isn't necessarily how do we get rid of bad teachers -- I'd rather us spend more time asking how to we create great teachers and then how do we convince them to stay.
  • Will the most impressive teachers likely to be attracted or discouraged from teaching by command-control education policies that teacher-proof curricula and assessment?
  • We don't have a shared understanding for what good teaching looks like nor do we have a shared understanding for the purpose of school.
  • Inside the classroom, the teacher is the most important factor on student success; however, the influences of the teacher are dwarfed by the influences of out-of-school factors. Equity begets excellence.
  • Are there bad teachers -- yes. There are bad doctors, lawyers, journalists and education pundits but you don't improve a profession by replacing bachelor and masters degrees with 5 week in services like Teach for America.

1 comment:

  1. "I'd rather us spend more time asking how to we create great teachers and then how do we convince them to stay."


    I read somewhere that often, the teaching profession does not attract the best because the profession does not offer reward.

    Plenty of intrinsic reward, of course. But not reward of the kind you point out: great teachers with results being promoted, or doing research etc.

    Stagnation makes people itchy. When they do well and aren't recognized, they leave.

    And that's why I think we lose some fantastic teachers who become bankers, lawyers, and artists.


    Great post though... :)


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